While many individual sellers and previously-owned car dealerships are honest, and operate with ethics and integrity, there are others that are looking to pull the wool over your eyes when it comes to used car shopping. That’s why you should always have an inspection done on any used automobile you’re considering purchasing. Here’s a look at ten things to look for in that inspection:
1. Tire tread: Ideally, tire tread should be evenly worn, and all four tires should be the same brand and type. This indicates that the tires have been adequately rotated and cared for.
2. The frame: If the saddle, or the part that connects the front fenders and also supports part of the radiator, is showing signs of wear, it could be indicative of replacement following an accident.
3. The exhaust: Black spots and rust aren’t good things to see when the exhaust system is being checked out. If the report says that there is evidence of grime upon touch, or white-colored exhaust when the engine is running, those are also indicators of a poor exhaust system.
4. Hoses and belts: These should not be cracked and, in the case of the radiator hoses, not be soft.
5. The engine: Engines have a tendency to get dirty under the hood, but they shouldn’t have any oil stains. That could be the sign of leaky gasket.
6. Fluids: Aside from the oil, the transmission fluid should also be checked. If the fluid is full, and pink or red in color, it’s good to go. If it looks or smells burnt there could be a problem.
7. Upholstery: On the inside, the upholstery should not show signs of tears, stains, or any other damage. Also, be wary of buying a former smoker’s car, as the smell is very difficult to remove.
8. Air conditioning: A/C repairs can be expensive, so make sure that the report indicates that the system works.
9. Brakes: In addition for looking for any leaking brake fluid, make sure the report doesn’t mention signs of vibration, swerving, or unusual noises.
10. Test drive: Are there reports of unusual sounds when driving at slow speeds? Vibration or bouncing when traveling fast? Does it shift gears awkwardly? These could all be signs of expensive mechanical repairs.
While there are various unknowns when it comes to buying used, it always pays off to do your due diligence with a vehicle inspection prior to making the purchase.