How To Check Used Cars Before Buying

In today’s busy world, relying on public transport is impossible, especially if you are unpunctual.  Therefore, owning a car has become inevitable to carry out everyday duties and tasks. With drastic price hikes in vehicles every year, not many people can afford a brand-new vehicle since it costs millions. You can opt for car financing but after understanding the massive monthly interest payments. So, what other options one has?

Indeed, getting a used car is not on many people’s bucket lists, but it is an incredible option. Alongside being far cheaper than first-hand vehicles, they prove to be a far better deal than new ones. After all, you are not the one who has taken the biggest depreciation hit on the car. Hence, start looking for a second-hand car in good condition. And if you make an excellent catch, you might be able to sell your car at the same price you bought it. 

Instead of relying on luck, finding a trouble-free car requires research and investigative skills. You should know how to spot potential problems to save yourself from expensive automotive headaches later. If this is your first purchase or want help, let us help you make the best decision. Here are a few things you must inspect before purchasing a used car.

  1. Read the Window Sticker 

Before delving into the car’s specs, read the window sticker thoroughly. Every federal trade commission requires the sellers to post a buyer’s guide on each vehicle for sale. It comprises every crucial information regarding warranty, repairing expenses, etc. Since the info will differ for every automotive company, there are some key things to consider. If you are getting a Toyota, ensure the buyer’s guide includes average fuel consumption.

Likewise, if you are looking for Mazda used cars, look for the engine capacity and model number in the buyer’s guide. Moreover, you have to apprehend the terms of the sale carefully. If it says, ‘as it,’ the dealer is not guaranteeing the vehicle’s condition. Otherwise, you will find the warranty papers with the guide. Fortunately, this information can override any conflicting provisions in the sales contract. 

  1. Take Notice of Body Parts 

It is never smart to buy a car with rusty body parts, but you never know what is inside that flashing paint. When it comes to checking for rust, look at the pillars, body, boot, and radiator support. Similarly, look out for misaligned panels or large gaps, reflecting extensive repairs. Rust can weaken the car’s body that is extremely dangerous for it. In addition to this, ensure the vehicle has never been through any accidents. 

Remember, the structure of the car is dependent on two things – pillar and chassis. If the vehicle gets hit from the front, it deteriorates the pillar that has a drastic impact on the radiator core support. Hence, ask your mechanic to inspect the radiator joints and see if they are in place. Simultaneously, if you encounter any dents on the body parts, it is undoubtedly an accidental car. 

  1. Check Tires 

Believe it or not, but you can tell a lot about the car by only looking at its tires. It indicates whether the previous owner took care of the vehicle or not. Firstly, turn the front wheels towards the outside to inspect them from inside out. It will give a fuller view of treads on the tires, unfolding all the fractures, cracks, and feathering. If you want to determine the tire’s age, search for the DOT number on the tire’s sides. For instance, if the last digits are 4919, the tire was from the 49th week of 2019.  

Moreover, measure the tread depth by using a coin to make sure the tires have legal depth. A car with less than 20,000 mileage is likely to have original tires. However, you have to beware of a low-mileage car with new tires as the owner might have rolled back the vehicle’s odometer. Tires are the most expensive thing to replace on a vehicle, so ensure you don’t have to buy new tires with the used car. 

  1. Under the Hood: Check Engine Related Components

Sometimes, the shiny exterior parts can blindfold you. It is essential to know what is under the hoods, which means you have to look at the engine’s condition. Instead of dust and dirt, examine oil spillage on the pavement or below the engine section. Alongside this, there are multiple other components you need to inspect. Look below. 

  • Battery: Watch out for electric batteries enclosed with corrosion or see any loose hanging wires around. Likewise, check the built-in charge indicator. A green indication means the battery is in good shape, while black or yellow alarms about its depleting lifespan. 
  • Hoses & Belts: Do you see lines running to the radiator or air conditioner? Consider squeezing them a little to determine if the rubber is supple, cracked, or rock-hard. 
  • Fluids: Next up, you have to check the fluid levels. Begin with the engine oil and ensure it is dark brown or black, not stark. Check the dipstick, whether it has water droplets or foamy oil, as this will imply a cracked engine block. Also, test the automatic-transmission fluid once the engine is up and running. 
  • Radiator: Find the plastic reservoir with a rubber hose and radiator. If the coolant is green or range, you are good to go. Otherwise, if it is rusty or milky, consider that to be a sign of pinhole leaks. 
  1. Take A Test Drive

There is always a difference between looking at things and practically examining them. Despite checking every component thoroughly, don’t forget to take the car for a driving test. It will explain how smooth or rough the car is while giving an opinion about its mileage. Sometimes, the engine seems perfect until you drive and come across unusual sounds. Also, drive the vehicle over potholes and speed breakers to notice any abnormal noise is coming out of the car’s suspension. 

Besides this, look for constant velocity joints. These are the components that allow wheels to receive while moving. Hence, take the car to an empty parking lot and roll down the windows to examine the tire’s performance. You can make tight, slow circles by turning the steering to check its smoothness. You will come across clicking and whining sounds if the constant velocity joints are failing. 

Final Thoughts:

Shopping for a new car is always thrilling, but it also involves a lot of running around, especially when buying second-hand vehicles. You have to find reputable markets and shops for second-hand cars willing to corporate in the inspection process. Similarly, you have to do adequate research on the car models and specs to ensure you are getting the optimum deal. After all, buying a used car is always a smarter decision as it offers the best value for money. 

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