Tips for Buying Used Cars

Top 10 Things to Check When Buying a Used Car

The feeling that you are going to buy a car is exhilarating. Whether it is going to be your first car or it is an addition to your fleet, you will still be happy about it. Buying a used car is not a walk in the park. There are many things that you need to consider before you finally give out your hard-earned money to the car seller. Although most car dealerships have a good reputation, you cannot afford to throw caution to the wind. There are some unscrupulous dealers that can rip you off by selling a substandard car. Here are the things that you should consider before buying a used car.

1. Oil Dipstick

The oil dipstick can tell you many things about the engine of the car that you want to buy. It can also tell you about the nature of the car owner. All you need is to pull the dipstick out, wipe, put it back then pull it out again. Take note of the oil level. If the dipstick indicates that the oil is overfull, this is a sign that the oil contains some gas. If it is low but not below the bottom line is a sign that the engine is in a good condition. If it is lower than the bottom line means that there could be a problem with the engine.

A white foam on the dipstick means that the oil is contaminated with water or a coolant. Do not proceed with the negotiation. If the oil is crystal clear or clean, it means that it has just been changed to impress you. Probably there’s a serious problem with the engine. A smell of burnt oil could mean that it has been used for a long time. At the end of the day, you want to buy a car that has good oil levels.

2. Drag Your Finger on the Car’s Surface

Drag your fingers on some parts of the car including door jamb, windshield, and trunk opening. How does the surface feel? If it is smooth, then it is factory paint. On the other hand, body shop paint will be rough. You should also check the paint lines at the edges of the car’s body panels. Body shop paints will have lines at the edges and also tend to have more paint on the trim. A slight mismatch in the color is a sign of body shop paint. All signs of body shop paints are indicators that the car might have been wrecked at least once or several times.

3. History Report of the Car

Although vehicle history reports are not 100% accurate, they can give you a hint about the status of the car. Blue Book, Kelley, CARFAX and many others can give a history of accidents, ownership history, service and insurance claims. The history of a car can tell you whether it was taken well care of or not.

4. Check for Little Burn Holes

Be keen to spot the little round holes on the car’s seat. They are enough to tell you about the ordeal that the car has gone through. The burn holes could be an indication that the owners were smoking cigarettes or even marijuana in the car. Although this may not be an essential issue, it can tell some little secrets about the car. The car might have been used for other uncouth activities other than just being a den for drug users. Obviously, you don’t want to buy a �dirty’ car so you shouldn’t hesitate to walk away from the deal.

5. Check the Car’s Glovebox

Sometimes you don’t have to struggle to beg for documents from the car seller. Just check at the glovebox. You will find lots of documents that will reveal some secrets about the car. Most car owners and even dealers leave important documents about the car in the glovebox. You can find documents giving details about the mechanical work on the car, service history and even insurance claims.

6. The Tires

The state of a car’s tires can give some clues about the car and its owner. Uneven wear on the tire could be an indication that the car was driven for a long distance with an improper wheel alignment. Sagging or cracking sidewalls are an indication of a leak and dry rot. They also reveal that the car has been using the same wheels for long. Bald tires is a sure sign that the owner didn’t take care of the car well. Probably other parts of the car could be having the same issues.

7. Airbags

Airbags are installed at different strategic points in the car. These locations include the steering wheel center, around the dashboard and at the side of the seats. In case of an accident, the airbag will rip off through the plastic. An ill-fitting steering wheel cover or any other part that is covering the airbag could be an indication that the airbags have been replaced. Nothing else can lead to a repair or replacement of airbags other than an accident.

8. The State of the Backseat

Stained or worn out backseat are indicators of a family car. Instead of running away, these signs should draw you closer to the deal. This is because family cars are driven cautiously and owners tend to keep them in good condition. After all, you will only need to clean the seats-something that you can easily do.

9. Engine Operation

Start the engine to see how it runs. It should be able to start and stop without any problem. The engine should also produce smooth sound instead of any unusual noise. When testing the engine, you need to trust your instincts. If something tells y that the engine is not good, don’t think twice. Run. There are cars with good engines waiting for you.

10. Dash Lights

Dash lights can give you warnings to tell you that there is something wrong with the car. The lights can tell you about various issues on the engine or brakes. Dash lights can save you from the cost of manually inspecting the car.

Vehicles are expensive and you may end up wasting a significant amount of money especially when buying used ones. Consider the above factors and you will get a good car that is worth your money.