How to Inspect a Second-Hand Car before Purchasing

Buying a used car is a much more anxiety-inducing, stressful process than buying a brand new one straight from the manufacturer or an official showroom. Even if you’re buying the second-hand from a trusted dealership and not the owner, there’s always the possibility that they’ve overlooked a detail or two. For these reasons, it’s best if you know how to inspect a used car by yourself so that you can make sure you’re not being cheated when you finally make your purchase.

So here’s a helpful guide that will help you perform a thorough inspection of a used car:

Visually Examine the Exterior

Start off by thoroughly scanning the exterior of the car for any faults or damage. While this may seem simple, you really have to know where to look so that you don’t miss anything. First check the paint for any blemishes or deep scratches and then move on to looking for any dents or signs of rust.

Afterward, inspect the tyres. Before you start, make sure that the car is parked on an even, levelled tarmac because otherwise you can’t accurately check the conditions of the tyres. Make sure the tyres are properly aligned by looking for wear that follows an uneven pattern across the surface. Saw-tooth and bevelled wear patterns, for example, are indicative of poor alignment.

You can usually confirm if a car has been involved in a crash by checking the saddles, located below the engine and in the middle of the frame. If it appears to have been replaced, then it’s likely the car had crashed at one point or the other. If you’re unable to confirm this yourself, it is advisable that you hire a mobile pink slip service so that you can have peace of mind about it.

Examine Under the Hood

The components that sit under the hood should be checked for rust and other signs of poor maintenance. For instance a soft radiator hose can point to problems such as inadequate pressure in the cooling system and dark-coloured stains on the engine can suggest an oil leak. Something that you should pay a lot of attention to is the oil filler cap. If you notice some milky, frothy leavings on its interior, then it might mean that the car has a blown head gasket. If this is the case, then you’re potentially looking at a cost of perhaps more than $3000 to replace it.  

Examine the Interior

If all is up to satisfaction thus far, check the inside of the car next. First examine the seats for any signs of wear and tear. Then check if the air conditioning controls, turn signals and headlight switches are working. If the car is equipped with a TV, audio or computer system, and then make sure those are functioning properly as well by turning them on.

Take It for a Spin

All that’s left to do now is to take the car for a test drive. First of all, check the condition of the brakes. Ensure that they don’t make screeching noises or feel significantly stiff when you press down on them. Additionally, check that the braking distance doesn’t feel lengthier than normal. Pay attention to any other noises that you may hear and note those down so you could consult an expert about them later. 

Having thoroughly inspected the car yourself, you can be confident that you’re making the right choice. If you’re not entirely confident in your inspection skills, take a mechanic with you and learn from him/her so that you can repeat the process on your own next time.

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