How Should You Inspect a Used Car?
Buying a used car is common, but knowing what you are buying when looking at used cars is not always easy. A lot of people try to hide issues with used cars by cleaning up the engine or getting a fresh car wash right before you come to look at it. This can make spotting issues a bit more difficult; however, if you know what you are looking for it can be a little bit easier. Here are some tips for inspecting the used car you are interested in, to help you decide if it would be a good buy or not.
First, Check the Exterior of the Car
Floodlights that surround used car lots are there for a reason. They are great at hiding minor imperfections or dings in the vehicle’s exterior. Try and look around the entire vehicle, top to bottom, under the bright sun. This gives you the best chances of noticing any problems with the exterior of the vehicle. Check the bumpers, look at all the glass for problems, make sure each of the door handles work, and look closely at the trim. Make sure everything that should be on the exterior of the vehicle is still firmly attached. It shows that the vehicle was better maintained than one that was left outside and ignored.
You also want to look at the vehicle from a distance of 10-15 feet. The tires should be round and even, and should look as though they have equal pressure in them. The vehicle should be level as it sits on the ground as well. If you notice one side of the car sits lower than the other, it could indicate an issue with the vehicle’s suspension. This can be an expensive fix, so get it checked before you buy.
Then, You Want to Look Thoroughly At the Interior
Now, it’s time for you to get into the car to check out the inside. First, you want to notice if there is any type of a smell. Burning oil has a very distinct smell, and could mean the car might have engine issues. Look around and see what condition the interior of the car is in. Are the pedals worn beyond the mileage of the vehicle? Is the headliner intact? Are the seats in good condition? Remember to look at all the components of the interior of the vehicle, keeping in mind the mileage. If the vehicle has lower miles, it should be in better condition than a vehicle with higher miles. Make sure to try out every button, lever, and option to make certain they work properly. This includes the sunroof, radio, heat and air conditioning, and things like cruise control when you take it for a test drive.
Make Sure to Check Under the Hood
Looking under the hood can be difficult for many. Those without a mechanic’s experience may struggle to have any idea what they are looking at, or looking for. If this is the case, bring a knowledgeable friend or relative with you, or take the vehicle to a mechanic to have them look over it for you. Many will do this for little or no cost. What you want to look for are signs of spills or leaks, fluids that do not look right, hoses and belts that look worn or are not connected, and the condition of the battery. The fluids should be clear (not cloudy) and full.
Hoses should not have cracks in them, and belts should be taut. If you notice duct tape anywhere in the engine area, beware. There are better ways of holding things together within the engine compartment than by using tape. Make sure to check fluid levels and colors on a white paper towel. That way, as you wipe off the dipstick, you can tell if any of the fluids are the wrong color. And make sure the battery terminals are not corroded or showing signs of wear.
Finally, Look Beneath the Car for Signs of Trouble
When you are done with the outside, inside, and under the hood, you finally need to look beneath the vehicle. This is where most people do not take the time to clean, so you can tell a lot about the vehicle by looking here. Look for signs of drips first. This can be anything from gas to brake fluid, oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, or even windshield washer fluid. If you see any on the ground beneath the vehicle, check the corresponding spots to see if this vehicle was dripping them, or if it was another vehicle parked there before.
You should also feel along the tailpipe (only if it is cool) for any type of residue. This can tell you if anything was burning off the engine that may have been cleaned up, so it was harder to see from above. Burning oil can easily build up in this area, making it easy to spot when you lie down beneath the vehicle to inspect it. You also want to inspect the structures beneath the vehicle. They should be relatively clean and not cracked or broken. So long as everything here checks out, it is then time to take the vehicle out for a good test drive. If you can go without the dealer or owner, that is ideal, since you can test the vehicle more extensively this way.
Make sure that you use your senses when it comes to inspecting a used car, and while out on your test drive. If you notice something off, trust your gut. Used cars are likely going to have a couple of issues, but that does not mean the vehicle is a bad buy. Some issues are very minor and can easily be fixed, but may allow you to ask for some wiggle room in the asking price. Listen for noises, pay attention to smells, and do not ignore any leaks you notice. If you can do that, you will do well in your used car purchase.
At Fairless Motors, every car and truck comes with a Carfax or AutoCheck vehicle history report, so you can always shop and drive with confidence. Each car on our lot has received a complete inspection, professional detail, paintless dent repair (if needed), and has been serviced and test-driven to ensure quality and reliability. When you come to Fairless Motors for a used car, you’re buying a quality vehicle that you know is worth the price on the sticker.
Fairless Motors provides outstanding service in helping you find an auto loan thanks to our outstanding Finance Department. We offer a fast-track to credit approval with our simple and secure online finance application; simply fill out the online form and you’ll receive a personalized auto loan quote in minutes. We’ll accept your trade-in vehicle as well, as you can use our Value Your Trade tool to see how much you could get for your old car, and how much you could offset the cost of your next vehicle. Whether you have excellent credit or poor credit, Fairless Motors’ financial team will help you create the financing options you need, and we even have APR rates starting as low as 1.9%.
Stop in to our convenient family operated dealership at 435 Lincoln Hwy, Fairless Hills, PA, or call us at 855-560-9740 to check out our extensive inventory of late-model pre-owned cars and trucks. Our staff will help you find the vehicle that best fits your needs and budget.