How to Evaluate a Used Car's Condition
Knowing how to detect potential issues and understanding how reliable a used car can be can save you from costly automotive pitfalls down the road.
Tips to Help You Find Good Value in a Used Car
Do your homework - To reduce the hazards of buying a problem car, identify models with a solid record of reliability before you start with your shopping. Check out the reliability history which is provided with most of the car model pages to get a better view at how certain cars have fared overall. If the car you are interested to buy is known to have certain problem areas, you will know where to pay special attention during inspection.
Inspect the car - No matter from whom you purchase the car, always make sure to look over the car thoroughly and, if possible, take it to an experienced car mechanic for an overall inspection. Take along a friend or a knowledgeable person with you for help. Inspect the car in broad daylight on a dry day as colourful lights can make cars appear shiny and conceal defects. The vehicle should be parked on a flat level surface.
Check the exteriors - Check each and every body panel and the roof, checking for scratches, dents, and rust. Minor cosmetic issues and light scratches are no matter of concern, but rust is. Also check closely the car glass to make sure there are no cracks and check that all lights are working. Checking the tyres is a must! Be cautious of a low mileage cars with new looking tyres - the car’s odometer may have been tampered with.
Check the interiors – The interiors of the car should be free of any foul odour. The seats should not have tattered upholstery and should be flexible. Most importantly, the pedals of the car should function flawlessly. The instruments and other controls inside the car should also be checked to ensure they are functioning error free.
Check under the hood – Inspect the general condition of the engine bay area and then each component. Feel the different rubber hoses running to the radiator, air conditioner, and other parts. The rubber should be strong and supple, not hard with cracks. The owner’s manual will state where to check for all the fluid levels. Also make sure to check the radiator for the coolant and also the battery of the car.
Look under the car – Don’t forget to look under the engine of the car with a bright light – watch out for any oil drips and oily leaks. Fresh coating under the car may conceal recent structural repairs.
Take a test drive – Take a test drive of the car without fail. This will let you have the first hand feel of driving the car which is extremely important. Also check important points on test drive