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Old 4th April 2009, 04:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Tips for buying a Used car

With the latest purchase of another old car, I decided to come up with this small list of tips on how to choose a used car.. some stuff are based on common sense, my experience, and other bits from other forums.

Long before hand, ask the seller about the odometer/mileage of the car. Give about 15,000kms per year and multiply by the age of the car. Anything more, and you'd have to be weary. But remember that odometers can be tweaked (for some electronic odos, they can be switched 'off'. this mode is used to drive the car before delivery or in between ship to wharf to showroom), and the easiest way would be just to replace the cluster with another car's.
Be careful of cars near the 100,000km mark, the water pump and timing belts might be due for a replacement and chances are the seller wouldn't be bothered.

Check the car when its clean, and during the day. Never view a car at night, if possible choose a sunny day where the paintwork will really show. If possible also, view the car in the day, or make sure the engine is cold before going.. Cold starts can tell alot.

When you first approach the car, stand back a distance and look at the car as a whole. Run eyes along the lines of the car. Does it look right? Is the front sagging, or the rear too high? Look at the wheels in the arch. Is there equal space between the wheel and both sides of the arch? If the wheel is closer to one side, could mean the car has hit a curb before and bent the lower control arm.

- Ask the seller for the reason he's selling it, then ask yourself if the reason makes sense.
- Ask about the service history of the car, when was the last service, and how often he does it. What are the things changed n stuff. Make a mental note of that and we'll get to it later.
- Ask if the car has been in any major accidents before. most of the time they'll say no, but don't take his word for it.

Check the paintwork of the car. Is the paint new? If it is, ask for the reason for respray. Check if the tone is constant throughout the car. Look at edges such as the bottom of the A-pillar, the part where the bumper meets the body, etc, and check for overspray or masking hints.

Ask the seller to pop the bonnet. Its kinda a courtesy to let the owner do everything, unless he/she doesn't know what to do. The engine bay would probably be quite dusty, or very clean. If its clean, ask yourself why. Is it to cover something up? or it could just be the owner likes a clean bay.

Pull out the engine dipstick and look at the oil. Does it match the seller's story of service interval? The oil should be dark brown. Don't be afraid to touch it, the oil should feel smooth and smell burnt/sweet. If the oil is black and sticky, walk away. Open the oil cap and look under it. Check if the threads are black and sticky. Look out for milky stains under the cap, these are signs of a leaky headgasket as the milky-ness results from oil mixing with water. Look at the colour of the brake, clutch (manual), ATF (auto) and powersteering fluids. If any of these is dark black in colour, walk away.

Look at the side fenders, are those factory bolts or new? Some bolts have factory paste/glue/markings on them. If they have been removed, ask yourself why. Look at the car's frame behind the bumper, Is there any rust? (signs of repair job), dents, sprays, fixes. Look in the boot, lift up the spare wheel cover and look inside, are there any dents, rust, water collection inside? Usually most accidents are hard to detect, so it would be best to take it to a mechanic.

At the rear, get down on the floor and look under the bumper. Behind the bumper is a metal plate which is the car's chassis. If there has been a major rear accident, this plate would be dented. Most of the time this is not repaired, since the bumper covers up everything. Run your eyes on ALL lines and seams where boot/door/bonnet meets body. Panel alignment is very difficult, and if something eg, the bootlid has been taken out before, chances are it would not be in perfect alignment anymore. Note also if the boot can close easily, and if the latches are in the center.

Start the car with the bonnet up and when the engine is cold. Listen for rattling noises or clicking sounds. The worst cycle an engine goes through is not during high rev, but the first few seconds just after startup. That's when the bearings are directly contacting the metal and when the most wear occurs, so any major wear will show now.

Does the engine start, then cough? The revs of the car during cold start is higher than normal, probably around 1.5krpms. Look at the exhaust, is there any white/blue/black smoke coming out? Note: Condensation is ok. (there's a difference, condensation is thinner, while oil smoke is thicker). Put your hand at the exhaust stream, it'll be warm. Is your hand wet after? If it is, that's a sign of good combustion. If the smoke stings your eyes or smells dry, there's a problem with the mixture.

Its now time to test drive. There are 2 parts to the test drive, the seller, and the car. Let the seller drive the car first, because this part is more about the seller (you'll get time with the car later). The engine is now barely warmed up, so watch how the seller drives. Does he just floor it without considering that? If its a manual, does he change gear smoothly or does the car jerk everytime he changes it? Does he throw the clutch to engine brake all the time? All these point to bad driving habits, and will mean a more worn out car.

Now its your turn. Sit in the car and adjust everything to make yourself comfy. Clutch in and slot into 1st, does the gear go in smoothly? Switch off the radio! Leave the windows up or down, depending. Windows up would let u listen to interior sounds, while window down, would let u listen to the exterior of the car. Listen out for squeeks, creaks groans or other abnormal sounds, especially when you turn a corner or brake. (brake squeal may be alright if the brakes are still cold or if its on aftermarket pads).

- Shift through the gears, is there any difficulty? Do the shifts feel sloppy? These might point to worn out synchros (= rebuild gearbox).
- Travel at a variety of speeds up to 90km/h and above if possible. Does the steering wobble? Are there any alignment issues or strange sounds?
- In 4th gear, floor the car. If the revs climb but speed remains the same, the clutch is slipping. Notice any burning smell also.
- Next, in 1st gear. step on the brake and let the revs drop to about 500. Does the car choke and want to die? These are signs of loss of compression.
- Drive the car in reverse. Does reverse engage easily?
- For automatics, does it shift smoothly? Any hesistations, or strong jerks when it shifts?
- Are there any vibrations on a smooth road? Any weird engine sounds?
- Is the engine responsive, or is there a lag between input to response?

- Test out the brakes also, is the pedal spongy? Does it feel like it won't stop? While the car is moving at speed, leave the car in neutral. Rest your hand gently on the steering and brake reasonably moderately. The car should brake in a straight line and not pull towards one side.
- Cross humps, does the car continue to bounce up and down after passing the hump? This is a sign of worn out shock absorbers.

Probably this is all too much to remember.. but the main thing is to be alert and lookout for anything unusual. (or if its your first car, be sure to take someone with you). you culd print this out also and take it along.

Never take the seller's word for anything he says, check with your own eyes.

There are plenty of lemon cars out there, so you have to becareful. Buying is easy, but trying to get rid of it is difficult.

The most important thing for a car is that its chassis is straight. Followed by the engine and gearbox. The latter 2 are the most important and very difficult/expensive to replace (chassis is not replaceable unless you swap identities, which is illegal). The rest are pretty easy and cheaper fixes, so make sure you factor all these into the cost price and use it as a bargaining chip.

That's all for now, i'll add things if i think of it.. free to add on to the list!

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Last edited by typeX; 16th April 2009 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 4th April 2009, 05:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

Wow alot of info thou thanks. Will forward this to my friend

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Old 4th April 2009, 06:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

gd gd.. thks

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Old 4th April 2009, 07:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

good info. thanks.

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Old 21st April 2009, 10:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

thumbs up bro. useful info.

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Old 24th May 2009, 10:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

Wow!!!! Thanks TypeX, with your permission, can i print this out? I wanna make it a to do list when buying 2nd hand cars. =D Oh what would we do without typeX.

Next up, how about a "how to conceal damages to sell your car for a higher price" =X


P.S i was just kidding =X


Last edited by greenapples; 24th May 2009 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 24th May 2009, 07:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

Originally Posted by greenapples View Post
Wow!!!! Thanks TypeX, with your permission, can i print this out? I wanna make it a to do list when buying 2nd hand cars. =D Oh what would we do without typeX.

Next up, how about a "how to conceal damages to sell your car for a higher price" =X


P.S i was just kidding =X
lol!!! no probb =)

ehh, conceal damages. hahaha... guess some things are like a broken vase, once dropped can never be the same again. Maybe small chips or broken handles still can superglue back, but the strength will not be there. =D

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Old 1st June 2009, 11:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

Thanks for sharing

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Old 15th June 2009, 02:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

Brake System

With the engine off, pump the brake pedal. Then, with your foot on the brake, start the engine. With power brakes, the pedal should sink slightly as the engine starts. Then, push the brake pedal down hard for a minute. If it sinks further, the brake master cylinder may be problematic.

Automatic Transmission

Step 1
Shift the lever into the "P" (Parking) position.
Start the engine, and wait till the engine rpm is reduced to normal level (approximately 850 rpm).
With your foot holding down the brake pedal, shift to the "R" (Reverse) position. After only a short delay (0.3 - 0.8 seconds), the transmission should engage very smoothly (you should feel a smooth push towards the back), without any sharp jerk. Shift to "N" (Neutral), and the transmission should release. Then shift to the "D" (Drive) position. After the same short delay (0.3 - 0.8 seconds), the vehicle should twitch smoothly forward. Now, still holding the brake pedal down, try to shift from D to R and vice versa.

Note:
If there is any strong jerk or noise while shifting, it is not advisable to buy the car.
If there is a long delay (more than 1 - 1.5 seconds) between the moment you shift the lever and the moment the the transmission engages , such a transmission is either too worn or has some defect, it is not advisable to buy the car.


Step 2
Shift to the "D" position and drive gently, with smooth and gradual acceleration. As you cruise on the road, the gear shifts should be smooth and you should not feel like the car is having difficulties in switching gear. However, you should feel the gear shift at the moment the rpm drops down; it feels like the car slows down for a very short instance. You can note the transmission shifting moment by the slight change in the engine sound. If the transmission is extremely worn, it may shift with quite a strong jerk or shudder (especially from first to second speed). It may even feel like someone kicking the car in the back. If you press down the accelerator pedal for a few seconds at a speed of 40-50 km/h, you should feel the downshifting to a lower gear. That is, if the automatic transmission works properly.

Step 3
While driving at 60-70 km/h on a level road (without using the accelerator), switch overdrive ON. You should feel an upshifting to the next speed. Switch it to "OFF" and you should feel a downshifting. This is to check if the overdrive system is in good working condition.
Slipping is another indicator of the transmission experiencing problem. When the transmission is excessively worn it may slip - which means you press the accelerator, the engine rpm increases but the speed remains the same.


Sorry this is not my thread but I would like to share wat I had found on sgcarmart website.

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Old 16th July 2009, 02:55 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

most importantly , check whether the car chassis was hit b4 or not . if the chassis is in good condition , u can get it anytime . tis is juz an extreme case if u wanna buy a rare n specific car tat u like . example : gtr32 , etc2 . other tings are easy to b fixed

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Old 16th December 2011, 08:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

I like your post.It is very informative,Thanks.

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Old 3rd June 2012, 09:24 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

nice information

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Old 12th September 2012, 10:02 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

Originally Posted by typeX View Post
With the latest purchase of another old car, I decided to come up with this small list of tips on how to choose a used car.. some stuff are based on common sense, my experience, and other bits from other forums.

Long before hand, ask the seller about the odometer/mileage of the car. Give about 15,000kms per year and multiply by the age of the car. Anything more, and you'd have to be weary. But remember that odometers can be tweaked (for some electronic odos, they can be switched 'off'. this mode is used to drive the car before delivery or in between ship to wharf to showroom), and the easiest way would be just to replace the cluster with another car's.
Be careful of cars near the 100,000km mark, the water pump and timing belts might be due for a replacement and chances are the seller wouldn't be bothered.

Check the car when its clean, and during the day. Never view a car at night, if possible choose a sunny day where the paintwork will really show. If possible also, view the car in the day, or make sure the engine is cold before going.. Cold starts can tell alot.

When you first approach the car, stand back a distance and look at the car as a whole. Run eyes along the lines of the car. Does it look right? Is the front sagging, or the rear too high? Look at the wheels in the arch. Is there equal space between the wheel and both sides of the arch? If the wheel is closer to one side, could mean the car has hit a curb before and bent the lower control arm.

- Ask the seller for the reason he's selling it, then ask yourself if the reason makes sense.
- Ask about the service history of the car, when was the last service, and how often he does it. What are the things changed n stuff. Make a mental note of that and we'll get to it later.
- Ask if the car has been in any major accidents before. most of the time they'll say no, but don't take his word for it.

Check the paintwork of the car. Is the paint new? If it is, ask for the reason for respray. Check if the tone is constant throughout the car. Look at edges such as the bottom of the A-pillar, the part where the bumper meets the body, etc, and check for overspray or masking hints.

Ask the seller to pop the bonnet. Its kinda a courtesy to let the owner do everything, unless he/she doesn't know what to do. The engine bay would probably be quite dusty, or very clean. If its clean, ask yourself why. Is it to cover something up? or it could just be the owner likes a clean bay.

Pull out the engine dipstick and look at the oil. Does it match the seller's story of service interval? The oil should be dark brown. Don't be afraid to touch it, the oil should feel smooth and smell burnt/sweet. If the oil is black and sticky, walk away. Open the oil cap and look under it. Check if the threads are black and sticky. Look out for milky stains under the cap, these are signs of a leaky headgasket as the milky-ness results from oil mixing with water. Look at the colour of the brake, clutch (manual), ATF (auto) and powersteering fluids. If any of these is dark black in colour, walk away.

Look at the side fenders, are those factory bolts or new? Some bolts have factory paste/glue/markings on them. If they have been removed, ask yourself why. Look at the car's frame behind the bumper, Is there any rust? (signs of repair job), dents, sprays, fixes. Look in the boot, lift up the spare wheel cover and look inside, are there any dents, rust, water collection inside? Usually most accidents are hard to detect, so it would be best to take it to a mechanic.

At the rear, get down on the floor and look under the bumper. Behind the bumper is a metal plate which is the car's chassis. If there has been a major rear accident, this plate would be dented. Most of the time this is not repaired, since the bumper covers up everything. Run your eyes on ALL lines and seams where boot/door/bonnet meets body. Panel alignment is very difficult, and if something eg, the bootlid has been taken out before, chances are it would not be in perfect alignment anymore. Note also if the boot can close easily, and if the latches are in the center.

Start the car with the bonnet up and when the engine is cold. Listen for rattling noises or clicking sounds. The worst cycle an engine goes through is not during high rev, but the first few seconds just after startup. That's when the bearings are directly contacting the metal and when the most wear occurs, so any major wear will show now.

Does the engine start, then cough? The revs of the car during cold start is higher than normal, probably around 1.5krpms. Look at the exhaust, is there any white/blue/black smoke coming out? Note: Condensation is ok. (there's a difference, condensation is thinner, while oil smoke is thicker). Put your hand at the exhaust stream, it'll be warm. Is your hand wet after? If it is, that's a sign of good combustion. If the smoke stings your eyes or smells dry, there's a problem with the mixture.

Its now time to test drive. There are 2 parts to the test drive, the seller, and the car. Let the seller drive the car first, because this part is more about the seller (you'll get time with the car later). The engine is now barely warmed up, so watch how the seller drives. Does he just floor it without considering that? If its a manual, does he change gear smoothly or does the car jerk everytime he changes it? Does he throw the clutch to engine brake all the time? All these point to bad driving habits, and will mean a more worn out car.

Now its your turn. Sit in the car and adjust everything to make yourself comfy. Clutch in and slot into 1st, does the gear go in smoothly? Switch off the radio! Leave the windows up or down, depending. Windows up would let u listen to interior sounds, while window down, would let u listen to the exterior of the car. Listen out for squeeks, creaks groans or other abnormal sounds, especially when you turn a corner or brake. (brake squeal may be alright if the brakes are still cold or if its on aftermarket pads).

- Shift through the gears, is there any difficulty? Do the shifts feel sloppy? These might point to worn out synchros (= rebuild gearbox).
- Travel at a variety of speeds up to 90km/h and above if possible. Does the steering wobble? Are there any alignment issues or strange sounds?
- In 4th gear, floor the car. If the revs climb but speed remains the same, the clutch is slipping. Notice any burning smell also.
- Next, in 1st gear. step on the brake and let the revs drop to about 500. Does the car choke and want to die? These are signs of loss of compression.
- Drive the car in reverse. Does reverse engage easily?
- For automatics, does it shift smoothly? Any hesistations, or strong jerks when it shifts?
- Are there any vibrations on a smooth road? Any weird engine sounds?
- Is the engine responsive, or is there a lag between input to response?

- Test out the brakes also, is the pedal spongy? Does it feel like it won't stop? While the car is moving at speed, leave the car in neutral. Rest your hand gently on the steering and brake reasonably moderately. The car should brake in a straight line and not pull towards one side.
- Cross humps, does the car continue to bounce up and down after passing the hump? This is a sign of worn out shock absorbers.

Probably this is all too much to remember.. but the main thing is to be alert and lookout for anything unusual. (or if its your first car, be sure to take someone with you). you culd print this out also and take it along.

Never take the seller's word for anything he says, check with your own eyes.

There are plenty of lemon cars out there, so you have to becareful. Buying is easy, but trying to get rid of it is difficult.

The most important thing for a car is that its chassis is straight. Followed by the engine and gearbox. The latter 2 are the most important and very difficult/expensive to replace (chassis is not replaceable unless you swap identities, which is illegal). The rest are pretty easy and cheaper fixes, so make sure you factor all these into the cost price and use it as a bargaining chip.

That's all for now, i'll add things if i think of it.. free to add on to the list!
First of all thank you for giving me some nice knowledge about the used car buying tips and I think when you plan to buy a used car than you inspect car legal document and it is the most important thing in this issue.

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Old 12th September 2012, 11:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

Thanks for sharing this nice knowledge about buying used car. I think buying a used car is ideal option and when you plan to buy used car than you proper inspect legal paper of the car and it is most important thing in this.

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Old 13th September 2012, 01:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

thanks for the tips

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Old 11th October 2012, 06:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

you wrote well but when i buy a uesed car i first listen its sound on rest if its ok then i run it for five minutes on 100km/h speed and then again listen the sound on rest if its ok the car engine is ok

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Old 31st May 2013, 01:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

Well, I would say thanks for sharing such wonderful tips and I do agree that, buying a car with more than 50K miles on it is simply risky business, until and unless you are satisfied with the condition (mainly engine) and getting a very good deal. I would recommend you first get a thorough pre- purchase inspection done and then invest your money. Even I did the same, when I bought a used Ford from http://www.autopartsfair.com with 45K miles on it. I bought it after comparing all the aspects.


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Old 4th September 2013, 03:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

Well when buy used, from a third party. When you go to see, the used car take observe of whether or not their home is in excellent repair the garden taken proper, care of the garage area nice and fresh that will tell you if they took proper the car you may buy.

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Old 30th January 2014, 07:10 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

To buy car we should have the record of the company and full status of the product because earlier i Bought a bmw 325 from kruise auto from megamart 3 months ago
Warranty by optima werkz

After 1 month the start to have some issue, called kruise auto they ask me to sent to optima werkz.
Sent in immediately and was handle by Sky after few hours of checking they called me up and tell me the parts damage is not under warranty and requires to pay.
Reluctantly we proceed and I paid
1 month later the car have similar problem. Called kruise auto again and they ask me to go back optima. So no choice since my car is under the warranty I have to go back if not the warranty will be void.

I went back look for sky and he immediately told me its wear and tear not covered under warranty

I was pissed off cos he have not even checked
So I ask him to check what is wrong and let me know
7 hours later they called me up to pick up the car so I went
And was slap with a $1800 bills
I argue with sky as he have not quoted me and go ahead with the repair
I refuse to pay and he threaten not to release the car. We argue for 20 mins and he told me " since you drive a bmw and got no money to pay then out of good will I will discount $300 for you"
I was very angry I went to the counter paid the full sums $1800 and I went off
Its not about the money but its the principle.
I called kruise auto to complaint about the issue and I want to change warranty company but I was brush away by the sales manager

I know I have bought a lemon and now I understand how this whole deals work

Maybe it just that I'm very fussy
But I feel I should tell you guys and you guys can gauge if its me or its the dealer or if its the workshop

Hope you all guys dun encounter anything like me when u buy a car

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Old 19th May 2014, 04:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Tips for buying a Used car

Wah thanks man! This was really useful. Shared with my friends le lol

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