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When a vehicle is commissioned as a taxicab for the purposes of transporting passengers in a full-time capacity, it becomes more important than ever to ensure that the vehicle is in smooth working order. Itís obviously important that a car is working well under normal conditions, but when usage of the car is more frequent and sustained greater stresses are placed on the internal and external components, taxis can be prone to more mechanical failures than would be considered average. Despite this, a used taxi can be great value for money if youíre starting out in the taxi business. Whilst most of are taken care of well, if you happen to be buying one secondhand caution is advisable. With that in mind, how should one go about making sure that everything is in proper working order? Here are some hints and tips on what should be examined.


The mileage/Servicing

If youíve purchased the cab, then double-checking the mileage against the old service history or the MOT records is a good idea-itíll give you a rough idea of how worn the components are, and if you can cross-reference what might need replacing against this that should help (for example, the cambelt may need changing after every 30-40,000 miles, depending on the make of the car) and the gearbox and elements of the engine may need revamping. Getting a full service and inspection done on the car before it is used in a commercial capacity will help passengers to feel reassured and youíll know that there arenít any unpleasant surprises waiting. Giving yourself a rough idea of what to expect from the average used taxi is a good idea; list a good variety of taxis and taxi types to get you started.



If the previous driver has been a little over-enthusiastic with their endeavours, you may well find a number of scratches and dents in the bodywork-cabs can be subject to a wide variety of environmental factors and conditions, and may have damage from stone chips flying up from rough road surfaces if they are routinely used in an area where such conditions are prevalent, for example. Get fairly close to the bodywork when inspecting it and try to view it in good light so nothing is hidden.



Unfortunately, rust will probably be an issue-have a look under the car safely as well as all around the exterior and interior. Depending on the extent of how rusty said vehicle is, the cost may become prohibitive if you blow all your budget on getting the rust treated-given how expensive and difficult this can be itís sometimes better to just not make the purchase.


The engine

This goes without saying; even if you arenít a qualified mechanic thereís no harm in having a look inside the engine bay to see if anything immediately looks amiss. Such aspects may include frayed wires, low fluid levels, detritus that might clog the inlets, and so on. Oil leaks or radiator problems are quite common on older vehicles, so theyíre something to look out for as well.



Most taxis will have a considerably worn interior-not necessarily due to the driver being lazy with keeping it tidy, more to do with the nature and variety of passengers heíll have transported! If thereís one area where you are likely to have to spend a bit of time and money, itís probably going to be on this facet of the car. Donít leave any stone unturned-look under the seats, in the glovebox, in the footwell, etc.

The above is just a flavour of what kind of things to look for; Transport for London in the UK have an exhaustive licensing inspection manual that covers more or less all of the main points that need to be observed before a taxi can be declared fit for purpose.

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