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Why You Need to Thoroughly Inspect a Used Car Before Buying It

Finding that perfect car, truck, or SUV that fits your lifestyle and needs can be an exciting and empowering experience. If you are willing to put in the work, the time, and the research, there are plenty of amazing options when it comes to finding a gently used vehicle for your budget. However, you don’t want to be naive and fall for a deal that sounds too good to be true, and if a deal sounds too good to be true it probably is.

That’s why taking a good look at the used vehicle you’re interested in buying is so important. Knowing what to look for, how to spot potential issues, and when to know you have a reliable vehicle on your hands are all very important skills when shopping around.


You never want to go in blind when you walk into the dealership. You should do your homework online, and with so many tools to use these days, it’s actually not as strenuous as you might think to have a good working knowledge of the vehicles out there. The experts behind 902 Auto Sales say that there are plenty of consumer reports that will give you helpful information in regards to vehicle types, brands, and their history and known reliability. You can find plenty of info on almost every vehicle model and year and how they have been rated and performed over time depending on when they were released. They will also alert you to known trouble spots specific car makes, models, and years have had, and you’ll be armed with plenty of good questions when walking to speak to a car lot staff member. While you are at it, why not research the car lot as well? That way you not only know a lot about the product, but also the reputation of the dealer. As long as you have access to the internet, you only need time and patience to prepare to get the perfect vehicle for you or your family.


When inspecting a potential vehicle, you want to do more than just kick the tires, you want to look over the vehicle closely yourself and even bring a trusted friend or family member to catch anything you might’ve missed. If you can take it to a mechanic as well, you will surely get a more complete inspection. If you only have time for a visual inspection yourself, make sure to go in the daytime and look over every inch of the vehicle to make sure you haven’t missed any defects the dealer might’ve overlooked or forgot to mention.


When looking over the exterior, you want to keep your eyes open for scratches and dents, as well as rust on the fenders and bottom of doors. While a scrape in the paint is not ideal, rust can be cause for concern. Cracks in the glass are also not ideal as they could worsen and be an expensive repair. Bring a flashlight as well as check every inch. Ask if the tires have been rotated regularly as well, as treadwear should be even. If not, you should expect more wear on the drive wheels.


When checking out the interior of a vehicle, you should look at the seas, make sure there aren’t any rips or tears, and that all the seat adjusting mechanisms are in good working order. A bad odor or a musty smell could indicate water is finding its way into the cabin. Don’t forget to try out all the buttons and switches to ensure they work well and haven’t been too badly worn, as well that all the dashboard instruments, lights, and electrical components are functioning normally and aren’t glitching. If the vehicle has a sun or moon roof, check to make sure it closes and opens properly and seals properly.


Even if you are unable to have a mechanic look at your prospective vehicle, you can take a peek under the hood and see if you spot any oil splatters or a battery with corrosion or lose wires. Any hoses or belts should be made of firm and supple rubber, and not hardened or cracked. You can also check the engine oil to make sure it is a dark brown or black, and not gritty. The dipstick should not have water droplets or gray or foamy oil, that could indicate a serious problem like a cracked engine block. Meanwhile, transmission fluid shouldn’t be brown, but pinkish, and not give off a burnt smell.

In the end, looking for these warning signs can help you avoid buying a costly lemon that is constantly in the shop because things are falling apart. Instead, you can avoid buying the junkers and go home with a great, reliable vehicle that will keep you going on the road for years while still easily fitting into your budget.


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