How to Inspect a Used Car: Tips and Tricks

Buying a pre-owned car is never an easy task. Even though you test-drive a vehicle, it can still have unseen problems.It is wise to have an experienced, certified mechanic to inspect a car before you seal the deal, says DMV.org. Your mechanic can put the vehicle on a car hoist and see things that are not obvious from just looking in the engine. If your mechanic is familiar with the brand of car you are considering, you will get a better inspection. Resist the urge to just accept what the salesperson reports as the condition of the vehicle.

There are a few things that you can do on your own before you get your mechanic involved. If the car has significant problems, then you probably should not waste your time or money. Some of these issues include problems with the engine and transmission, significant rust, or a history of severe damage from an accident. These problems can cost you a fortune in the long-run; so it is best to move on to another car. Of course, most used cars may need some minor repairs or replacement. If you notice that one has small issues with the brakes or suspension, these are easy fixes. Cosmetic problems such as scratches or dents would not cost a lot to fix. Minor issues give you a little wiggle room for negotiation on the price, says ConsumerReports.org.

When you are considering a specific car, a brief walk-around inspection may let you know if you are even interested. Check out the exterior for any major problems. Look at the tires and their condition. The car should be pulled out in the open so you can look at it from every angle. You can look for rust, scratches, and dents. Look at the car up close and at a distance to see if the paint color matches. Do not be afraid to ask the salesperson any question about the car’s history.

The inside of the car is also important. Check out the interior, seats, and the instrument panel. You will also want to ensure that you feel comfortable behind the steering wheel. Look for extra features such as a CD player, cruise control, or built-in GPS. While you probably will not get the new car smell, you still do not want a stinking interior. Cigarette smoke and other nasty fumes are hard to eliminate and may be a deal breaker.

If the interior passes your inspection, then start the engine and let it idle. You should not hear grinding or rattling when it starts. There also should not be a heavy smoke from the exhaust. Trust your senses and instincts. If you smell strange fumes or gasoline smells, you do not want that car. Check and make sure all the lights and instruments work before you consider a test drive. If the car passes all your checks, then your mechanic can do the final inspection. With a thorough inspection, you can be the proud owner of a great used car.