Tips on Inspecting a Used Car

If you find the right deal buying a used car can be a great investment of your car purchasing dollars. Keep in mind it does require the individual to expend some time and effort to make sure that are getting a vehicle that works well and one that is worth the money. A buyer needs to protect against the possibility of purchasing a car that is in poor condition by taking every car for a test drive and inspecting several integral elements of the vehicle. This may seem like a daunting task to a potential buyer, but many of the potential pitfalls can be easy to spot when you know what to look for. Inspecting a used car the proper way will assure this.

Exterior
When you are inspecting the exterior of a used car, you will make note of dents and scratches for negotiating purposes, but what you are really looking for are signs that the vehicle has underwent any significant bodywork in the past. Signs of previous bodywork include inconsistencies in the finish, a new paint job or seams and fenders that are not properly aligned.
You will also want to inspect the quality of the glass, whether all of the lamps work and the condition of the tires. Check the glass for any cracks or dings and make sure that all of the windows work. Inspect the tires for wear, check the pressure and look to see if they are all of a matching brand. Also, take the opportunity to inspect the interior of the trunk and the spare tire. Make sure there is a spare and all of the hardware for changing a tire is present. As for lighting, you want to go around the car and check every bulb light one-by-one.

Interior
As for the interior, you will want to look for any aesthetic damages to the seats, interior upholstery, and check the dashboard for cracks. You will also want to check all of the interior electronics like the radio, horn, locks, and interior lights. Most importantly make sure that all of the gauges work and turn the car on to see if any of the warning lights come on, and especially when buying a used car in Tampa check to make sure the air conditioning system works at full capacity.

Mechanical
Open the hood and check the oil filter and quality and level of the oil. Check the belts and hoses for any signs of wear or corrosion. You will also want to check the battery cables and the terminals for signs of corrosion along with checking the age of the battery itself. Bounce each corner of the vehicle to test the suspension (springs and struts). If you hear any creaking or if different corners react differently, it could be a sign of a problem. You will also want to look under the vehicle to check for any signs of leakage. After you have inspected the vehicle, it is time to take it for a test drive. During the test drive, you will want to pay attention to how the engine sounds and how the transmission responds to acceleration. You will also want to test the brakes and the steering in a variety of ways. Not taking the time to inspect the vehicle before you test drive it can lead to a major loss of money and the purchase of a car that has more problems than are worth fixing.

Ask the seller what major mechanical procedures have been performed on the used car. This would include replacement of the timing belt and anything regarding the engine and/or transmission.

Once the process of inspecting a used car is completed and everything checks out to your satisfaction the negotiation process can begin based upon your completed inspection and testing.

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