Key Things to Know and Check When Buying a Used Car
If you simply cannot afford a new car, why not just buy a used one? There are so many used car models that are on sale in the market today! Our expert (Blaine Smitley) describes his best 10 steps to take when assessing if you’re looking at a good car on not:
- Start from the exterior of the car. Make sure that the car is level on the ground. This is important to assess any damage on the tires and to find out any sagging parts. View the car from a distance just to make sure. If a corner of the car is sagging or otherwise not level with the rest of the car. There may be issues that will require further investigation.
- As you assess the exterior of the car you should also be checking the car’s paint job. As you view it from afar, look for areas where there are obvious changes in the tint and color of the paint. Another way is to closely inspect the surface with your hands. Any rough or uneven edges would mean that there were scratches, dents or spot paint repairs that may have been done on a particular area.
- Possibly the most important area that you need to check on a used car is under the hood. Here we’re only doing a visual inspection. What are we looking for? Mostly we want to see if any of the emission controls, including vacuum hoses and wiring looks as though it may have been spliced or hacked at one time. Proper maintenance is normally done by professional mechanics. These guys know how to keep from hacking and tearing stuff up under a hood. If somebody without experience has been doing the maintenance generally this can be spotted by the clues they leave behind. Like missing bolts, spliced electrical wires and other items. Another thing we’re looking for our numbers written visibly on the engine with a crayon or grease pen. This indicates that the car does not have the factory engine it, and could possibly have a replacement engine from a junk yard.
- As you open the doors of the car, check out the door skin, glass windows, locks and handles. Find out if each one is in good working condition. The windows must move up and down when the switches are toggled and every window should be operated from the driver’s side as well. Don’t forget to do this with each door.
- The car seats are next. Check for rips, stains and other kinds of damage. Look under the seats and check for the chair controls, any damage on the actual seat and don’t forget to check the seat belts. If the car has removable car seat covers, remove these and inspect the actual seat. Check them for range of motion and that all electrical switches and motors are fully functional.
- The carpet, door panel compartments, and console container found in between the seats should be checked for any water damage, cracks and leftover items from the previous owner. Check if the radio and air conditioning unit are working. Look in the glove box to see if the owners manual is still there. Also you may find that it contains previous maintenance records for the car. If an owners manual is not present this could indicate that the previous owner didn’t care that much about the car, and could possibly indicate a lack of maintenance.
- If the car has a security system or an on-board computer, see if all these are working accordingly.
- Check the car’s oil through the oil filter cap. Check for any foam formation or residue on the inside of the cap that would mean that it has a leaking head. Be sure to check this so you can save time and money in oil and gasket replacement in the future.
- Be sure to test drive the car to assess the cars drive-ability. Any noises could mean that there is something internally wrong with the vehicle which could be a very costly repair in the long run.
- Last but not least and the most important two things to do is get a car-fax and inspect it. A car-fax may not have everything that’s ever happened to the car listed, but they can non the less be very revealing. Secondly, never purchase a used vehicle that has not been inspected and driven by an experienced mechanic. Many a car buyer has saved themselves a lot of future problems by having a qualified person check a potential purchase.
If you are buying a car and think there may be an issue with it call or email Blaine or Bobby. Consultation is free and they’re available to answer your questions. 502-242-7466