Tips for Inspecting a Used Car Before Buying

Tips for Inspecting a Used Car Before Buying
  • Opening Intro -

    Buying a car is a stressful affair, and buying a used car can be even more challenging as you try to discern what condition the vehicle is in.

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Explore these tips for inspecting a used car before buying it so that you can become a more informed buyer.

Vehicle History

Every car has a unique vehicle identification number. You can use this number to look up your car’s history using a paid service. It will tell you if the vehicle has been in accidents, its estimated value, who the previous owners were, if it’s been used in commercial work, and other important information. This information will give you a better idea of what shape the car is in, and it will help you key in on any parts of the car that need a thorough inspection.

Tires

The tires on a car can often hint at a more significant problem within the vehicle. Inspect all your tires to see what kind of condition they are in. Uneven tire treading typically means there are problems with the braking system, and car dealers will try to hide this by replacing the tires.

So, if the tires are different brands, ask why. Also, any car with less than 20,000 miles should still have its original tires, so if they look new, this could mean they aren’t hiding the accurate mileage count. Some vehicle histories will also have car mileage, so check your vehicle history against what they tell you.

Not to mention, tires have to have at least 1/16th of an inch of tread, so if the tires are incredibly worn out, make sure they get replaced before you leave the lot.

Lights

Make sure all the lights work before you sign any paperwork. Bring a buddy to the lot and have them stand outside while you check the brakes, blinkers, fogs lights, and headlights. You’ll also want to check your dashboard to see if the lights work on there as well.

Test Drive

You should never buy a used car without first taking it for a test drive. Many vehicles might look good from the exterior, but as soon as they are on the road, major problems pop up. Drive the car around the block to see how it fairs. You should be looking for smooth acceleration and breaking, steering sensitivity, how it handles at highway speeds, and other irregulates. You’ll also need to keep your eyes out for vibrations. If a car vibrates a lot, this is a common sign of a bad drive shaft, which can be a costly repair.

Body Condition

Checking the body condition is probably the one thing you already know, but are you doing it correctly? What you should be looking for is any signs of rust or patch repair. You can patch rust when contained to a small area, but you’ll have to replace the whole panel if it grows.

Now that you have some tips for inspecting a used car before buying it, you can hopefully find the right vehicle at the right price.

image credit: Adobe Stock

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