Pro Tips to Buying a Used Modified Car
Pro Tips to Buying a Used Modified Car
We've bought our fair share of modded used cars and frankly, not all of them have been winners. Ok, maybe half! We are going to attempt to teach you some of the tricks we've learned over time hoping you can avoid some of our mistakes in hopes of saving you time and money. Check it out!
After you locate your used car on throtl.com (shameless plug) it's imperative you reach out to the seller right away to let them know you're interested. Although not always possible, especially when buying a modded car online. We recommend visiting the owner/dealer and taking a close look at the car yourself before making an offer. If you can’t visit the car make sure the seller provides detailed pics for you to inspect and provide as much detail about the cars past as possible. If you absolutely cannot see the car in person we highly recommend employing www.wegolook.com to do the job for you. It's cheap insurance when dealing with a private party or new dealer and can make sure you are 100% happy when your "new" used car arrives to your doorstep. Visiting the owner/dealer often times tells a lot about how cars are cared for. Take a look at the environment the car has been stored in. Is it tidy, organized, temperature controlled? Or is it in disarray? Is the current owner/dealer well kept? These things can often allude to how a particular car has been looked after.
Once you’ve decided you are further interested in the car get a close look at the “bones”. By bones we mean the chassis of the car. Yes, you’ll want to roll around on the ground and have a close look at the frame or unibody. Make sure it’s straight, free of “cancer” (i.e. RUST!), damage and shows no signs of collision repair. If any of those things are present and not disclosed that is grounds for selling price consideration.
Once you’ve determined if the chassis is what you’re after then, it’s time to take a look at the quality of parts used to mod the car. Part quality typically reflects overall build quality. What that means is, if the owner used authentic “bolt-on” items there is a strong chance he also took care in applying them or choosing a proper mechanic to do so. Look for wires haphazardly laying under the boot or under the dash. Shoddy aftermarket wiring can quickly sour a cool build by creating shorts or failure all together if not done properly. While you’re under the dash pay close attention to the debris on the items under there. If a car has spent any time in a body shop for repairs it will almost always show signs of white or pinkish bondo dust which is quite different then typical under dash dust. That $*@# gets everywhere and is a tell tale sign of shop time. Trust us!
Next is to give the car a drive. If the car has modded suspension, control arms, bushings, brakes or wheels pay close attention to rattles, squeaks, “wandering” or suspension, rubbing of components, etc. Drive with the window down for a period of the drive to pay close attention. Any of those items listed can be a red flag of shoddy or improper work. And, remember to try the horn, the air-con, heater, the stereo, dome lights, etc. If any of that stuff isn’t functioning properly it could simply be a fuse, bulb, short or faulty switch. But use your best judgement. Those are typically easy fixes. Make sure the “easy” stuff works properly!
The engine, if equipped should should smooth and absent of idle blips or valve train "clacks". It should run under its own power when cold, and WARM! Meaning, the owner shouldn't have to crack the throtl to keep the car idling. That is a sign of a poor cold start if the car has a aftermarket ECU, poor tune or faulty sensor. The gearbox should shift smoothly and clutch engagement should be crisp. Any indication of slippage or grinding and you could be in for some costly repairs pretty quickly down the line.
If you are satisfied with what you’ve found thus far it’s safe to say that the car is likely in good shape and been adequately cared for. It’s time for you to either counter the seller with your best offer or pay the asking price. Pending your findings it’s up to you to decide if you want to pay the asking price or barter a lower price due to justified work needed to get the car up to snuff. If the car hasn’t been registered in some time you will want to find out from the DMV what the back fees are. They can be exorbitant if the car hasn’t been registered in a long time and can be a negotiating tool if they are.
So, happy car hunting and we hope throtl.com can be a catalyst for finding that perfect modded car for you. Please comment if below if you think we missed anything!