The process of buying a used car can be tricky because there might be hidden problems that may not be initially evident. This is why it is best fpr you to be critical when looking for potential problems and come up with a truly confident decision. Therefore, inspecting used car must be considered.
There are things that a buyer must consider when inspecting used cars. The first one includes signs of primary problems which are huge deciding factors to reject a used car. Next is about minor issues which can be considered negotiable. If in case you identify a major problem in a used car, you do not have any reason to inspect it further. Instead you can move to the next car.
Major problems include:
- Transmission problems
- Substantial rust damage
- Potential engine problems
- Flood damage
- Previous serious accidents
- Signs of abuse or negligence by former owners
Minor problems can be classified as:
- Brakes problems
- Worn tires
- Minor suspension
- Minor appearance flaws such as scratches, dents, and the like
Things Needed While Inspecting Used Car
Smartphones with camera and built-in flashlight can be useful in inspecting your used car. a small magnet is also helpful to detect repaired corrosion spot. Paper tower is also needed in order to check the engine oil. To check the audio system and CD player, iPod or CD disc is necessary. Most importantly, it is necessary to have a reputable mechanic whom you can trust to help you decide to buy or not to buy the car.
Inspecting Your Used Car
a. Have a Quick Overview
A quick overview allows you to identify the worth of your prospect used car. To obtain that, it is best to have a quick walk-around. Major rust spots will tell you to avoid such car. Then, you may check the interior by considering the steering wheel, inner door handle, and driver’s seat. Also check the features that you think important to you like USB port or cruise control. The fastest and easiest way to detect the problems of your engine is by starting the cold, and then sitting for a while after. By doing so, you will notice if there is smoke in the exhaust after starting the engine. If the engine rattles loudly and runs roughly with white or blue smoke like antifreeze, you need to avoid the car.
While inspecting, ask the salesperson to park it in an open area for better access of all the car’s sides. You may take a look at the car from a distance for an easier way of spotting color of panels that does not match. Walk around it and mark all the scratches, dents, and some of other flaws that you can found.
c. Checking the Windshield
Carefully look at the car’s windshield and note if there are scratches, chips, and other damages. If there are large star cracks and chips, it may cause for the vehicle to fail its safety inspection.
d. Inspect the Body Panels
Consider look into the reflection from body panels. In this way, it will be easier to identify the difference of unevenness and paint texture that can be a possible sign of previous body repair. Consider also to open then close the doors of the car; these must easily close. Open the door in driver’s seat and try lifting the hinges; there must not any free-play. If the used car is regularly used in towing, then transmission may be excessively worn.
e. Check the Tires
Check if the tires have cuts or damages and if it is already worn out. Also, consider the brand of tire used for the car. All the tires must have similar brands. If the car has bulge sidewall, you must avoid investing in such kind of car. It is not repairable and the wire has damages which affect safe driving.
f. Check the Interior
Test if the key-fobs are working. You may also check the condition of seats and look for damages and burnt marks. Minor damage may be repaired depending on your arrangement with the dealer. Do not forget also to consider checking the seat belts. Also, the rear wiper must be checked also because it is one of the common problems in older cars. You can test washer and all wiper functions.
g. Checking Locks, Windows and other Accessories
Test the mirrors, power windows and the power locks. Problems in window regulator are typically evident in most of older cars. There are times that windows go down well but go up very crooker and slow. Heated seats must be checked also and heated element is quite expensive to replace. Checking the controls including audio system is also necessary. If the used car has AUX/USB input or CD player, it is best to test if these works properly.
h. Checking Air conditioner and Heater Functions
Test the air conditioning unit. You must feel the coolness of the air coming from the vents after turning on the A/C. Also, check the heater fan if it works. Watch out for musty smell and some other odors coming from vents.
i. Look for Flood Damage
It’s more likely to have varied electrical problems if the car has been flooded. That is why it is best to consider this aspect before buying for a car. You can locate sign of moisture under a carpet. Consider also checking the spare tire and trunk for signs of having water damage.
j. Checking the Lug Nut Wrench, Spare Tire, and Jag
Check if there is jack and spare tire. If reserved wheels are locked, make sure that there are keys for wheel locks.
You may also consider consucting a visual inspection under the hood. Checking the oil level and condition of the engine as well as transmission fluid is also necessary in inspecting a used car to obtain quality assurance.
These suggestions will help you in inspecting a used car before paying out your money for it. When you are well-versed about these, you are sure to find the car that will give you the satisfaction you truly deserve.
Read more here: How To Purchase a Used Car