How To Identify the Age Of A Car: A Guide For Second-Hand Buyers

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Identify the Age Of A Car

It has happened to almost everyone who is looking to buy a vehicle second-hand. You go to view it, you ask questions, and you get told that it was made in 2008, it has only got so many miles on the clock, and its inspections are up to date.

You drive away to find that actually, no, it was made much earlier than 2008, it has made many round trips of the US, and its check-engine light is on!

OK, this scenario is more common for people with no experience with buying cars, but the lesson here is to ensure that every part of the car is checked to ensure that it matches the advert.

So, how do you accurately check the age of the car just by looking at it? Read on to find out!

The Number Plate

The first place to look when aging your soon-to-be new car is the number plate.

Everything from the sequential numbering on the plate to the characters on the number plate, and even the color of the number plate, can tell you when the car was produced and even the state that it originated from.

This assumes, of course, that the number plate is original to the car and that it is not an ageless plate. If the car has an ageless plate, be sure to ask the owner for information about the date it was made and check it against the car registration years chart.

The Dashboard

It is safe to say that in modern times, many cars have taken on features such as touch-screen radios or even an AI assistant built into them. Older models may have the standard car radio, which could be removed if needed.

Therefore, another way you can accurately gauge the age of the car is to look at the dashboard and ask (or assess) if all of the features are original.

The Tires

Don’t be scared to get down on the floor and look at the tires! If the tires have a more recent manufacturing date on them and look to be in good condition, you can ask if they are original to the car. If the answer is yes, then the car is likely to be as recent as stated.

Remember, the 4-digit date indicates the week of the year that they were made (the first 2 digits) and the year they were made (the last 2 digits). If the tires are new to the car, look worn, and have wear patterns that look a bit off, assume that the car has more miles on it than the owner may be letting on.

Under The Hood

Again, you should never be afraid of asking to see under the hood of the car.

Do all of the car’s components look new? Or are there signs of corrosion or rust? If the answer is yes to the latter, then move on, as in the best-case scenario, you are being conned, and in the worst case, buying this car can lead to an accident further down the line.

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