What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

What Should you Look for in a Used Car

The market for used cars is massive in the US and you can probably get your dream car for half the price. However, buying a used car is not without risks. To ensure you don’t end up buying a car that becomes a financial headache, we have listed things to look for when buying a used car. 

Check the Vehicle’s History 

If the car looks good, make sure the car does not have any shady past. You can use the car’s registration number to get the owner's details. For more detailed information like past accidents, liens or any legal issues, you can use an agency that can get such information for you. Spending a small fee to get the details of the car is a safe approach even though you are investing a few thousand dollars. 

Examine the Exterior 

Take a 360° walk around the car and look for any blemishes, dents or scratches. You can ignore small scratches or dents as the exterior is exposed to hard road conditions and harsh climate. Pay attention to the paint color on the car’s body. Does it look uniform? Make sure the door, tailgate, and hood are aligned properly. Any misalignment can be an indication of an accident and the repair work done to cover that. 

Assess the Interior

After you have examined the exterior, enter the cabin to assess the interior. Do you get any bad smells or see mildew? It could be a sign of water leaking inside the car. Check the power windows and ensure they are working properly. Next, take a look at the seats, carpet, ceiling and other areas of the cabin. Do you see any signs of damage? Check the instrumentation panel for any emergency lights that illuminate after starting the car. You need to pay attention to electric-powered features like wipers, lights, air conditioning, sunroof, windows, heating, and other systems. 

Check Under the Hood

Turn off the engine and allow it to cool before you check under the hood.  You need to look out for loose wires and hoses, rust, leaks, corrosion near the battery or any components covers missing. You should also check belts and hoses and fluids. Make sure the coolant is clean and the engine oil is not black.  Clean fluids do not guarantee a well-maintained car but dirty oil and coolant mean that the maintenance has been poor. Check the drive belts for any cracks or signs of excessive wear. Squeeze hoses to find out the flexibility of the rubber. 

Check the Locks and Windows

Check the windshield and window glass for signs of cracks. If you notice cracks, they need to be replaced, which can be an expensive thing to do. Also, check the locks and ensure they work perfectly. 

Check the Tires 

Check the tires for uneven wear and tear. This can be an indication of improper wheel alignment that does not cost much. If the tread wear is more uneven and the tread depth is less than 4/32 of an inch, you might be required to replace the tires. 

You don’t need to be an expert to buy a used car. Just follow the tips we have given in this post and you will be able to avoid the pitfalls that make a used car deal a sour one. 


What to Look for When Buying a Used Car - Honda of Indian Trail

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