How to inspect a used car before you buy

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At first glance, just about any used car can look like a great deal. Only obvious damage or a smoking engine is enough to put some hasty buyers off. The startling truth, however, is that some of the most significant damage is often difficult to detect upon initial inspection. When buying a used vehicle, here are a few things to look for:

Test Drive

If the seller is in any way apprehensive about allowing you to test drive the vehicle, then you can be sure that something is not quite right. Of course, if you don’t have a valid driver’s license, then you will need to have a trusted friend or family member take the wheel on your behalf. Either way, taking the car out on the road is an essential part of the buying process. It’s good to get a feel for the car. With a manual transmission, you will want to see just how well it takes to each gear and, with an automatic, you’ll want to know how smooth the transitions are. Make sure that you avoid using the radio and keep talking to a minimum so that you can really listen to the engine. In face, before you turn the key, you should open the window and make sure that you listen closely. Once the motor is running, step out of the car and pop the hood. Take a look at the engine and listen for any strange noises.

Physical Appearance

Take note of the interior and exterior condition of the vehicle. Look for things like rust, damaged trim, stains, worn seats, and so on. If the seats are covered with seat covers, you should definitely have a look underneath! Look for dents, scratches, panels that don’t quite line up, and any other signs that the vehicle may have been in an accident. If the seller is a smoker, you may also notice some stains along the interior roof, and the smell could also prove to be a negative point. Any irreversible damage can certainly help you knock down the asking price. Just make sure that you find out how much it will cost to replace or repair the damaged part before making your offer. If the damage is extensive, you may want to steer clear and look elsewhere. Rust is a good example of the kind of damage that can be a deal breaker. Once rust sets in, it can be extremely difficult to get rid of, and it can wreck even the toughest cars.

Check for leaks

If the seller has had the vehicle detailed recently, then you might not notice any leaks because the engine is squeaky clean. The best way to check for leaks is to park the car on a clean patch of road (without any oil stain or residue) after your test drive and allow the engine to idle for 30 minutes or more. Once this time has passed, move the vehicle at least one car length from the place you were, park, and inspect the ground where you left the vehicle to idle. If you notice black fluid, it could be an oil leak, green fluid could be leaking anti-freeze, and pink fluid could be a leaky transmission. Remember, if you are driving a car with the air conditioner on, the condensation can also drip from the bottom of the vehicle so take this into account as well.

Conduct Research

Over the years there have been recalls on certain makes and models for recurring problems. If you are interested in a particular used car, make sure that you do some research regarding known problems and issues that have come up. Not only will this help you make a solid buying decision but you will also be able to look even more closely for these issues in particular. While you’re at it, make sure that you check that the seller’s price is reasonable. Check the Blue Book value and don’t forget to take into account any extra features as well as problems or repairs that will be required.

Check the VIN

Do yourself a favor by checking the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the car you wish to buy. Check all records relating to the vehicle and make sure that all documentation is in order. There have been issues of VIN cloning in the past so make sure that you do not fall victim to such a tactic.

Call a Mechanic

Once you have taken a look at the vehicle and you’ve had a chance to take it for a test drive, you should still have it looked at by a certified mechanic. Get them to run diagnostics along with a physical inspection of various engine and mechanical parts. In many cases, it really helps to get the vehicle up on a lift so that it can be properly inspected from all angles.

Once you have chosen the vehicle you wish to buy, it’s also important to make sure that you are fully covered. A used vehicle extended warranty will ensure that you have added peace of mind thanks to the comprehensive protection you will enjoy during your travels. With so many packages available, it’s easy to find one that will suit your budget as well as your needs. All the more reason to make sure that you are covered before you take delivery of the vehicle.

Call A-protect Warranty at 1-866-660-6444 or (416)-661-7444 for more information and advice.

 

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