It’s no secret that buying a used vehicle can save you a ton of money. However, you must properly inspect the car from potential problems. Here are six things used car buyers fail to check during a pre-purchase inspection.
During a pre-purchase inspection, it’s very important to examine the tires. The condition of a used car’s tires can reveal a lot of hidden facts. Uneven tread wear typically indicates a bad wheel alignment. Aside from causing premature tire wear, a bad wheel alignment can also make your vehicle more difficult to control. This is a definite safety hazard.
You also need to check for dips all over a tire’s tread edge, which is referred to as cupping. A worn suspension is often the culprit. The shocks could need to be replaced.
Underneath the Vehicle
Many used car buyers focus a tad too much on a used car’s exterior finish. It’s just as important to check under the vehicle during a pre-purchase inspection. There could be a lot of rust. Pay especially close attention to the impact bar, which is a metal part directly behind the bumpers. A badly rusted impact bar can dramatically hinder a vehicle’s crash protection.
You also need to inspect the car’s frame. If the frame shows signs of rust or looks bent, your best bet is to search for another vehicle. The hassle is simply not worth it.
Although a vehicle may perform flawlessly during your test drive, this doesn’t mean it’s a great buy. A pre-purchase inspection should always involve checking the exhaust system. After allowing the engine to warm up to its normal operating temperature, step behind the vehicle to observe the tailpipe for any smoke. While bluish smoke indicates oil leaking into the combustion chamber, black smoke points to a problem with the engine’s air-fuel ratio.
Before you spend your money on a used car, make sure it’s catalytic converter is in good condition. This is one of the most critical parts of an exhaust system. A catalytic converter that glows red is on the verge of complete failure. It’s getting entirely too hot.
Check Engine Light
Most Piedmont Triad drivers understand that an illuminated check engine light is a major red flag. However, a check engine light can be temporarily turned off. This is a tactic that some shady car dealers used to deceive people.
To be on the safe side, hire a professional mechanic to perform the pre-purchase inspection. With the use of advanced diagnostic equipment, they can determine if the vehicle’s onboard computer has stored a trouble code. The extra peace of mind is well worth it.
Because they are so excited to drive home the vehicle, some car buyers forget to check important paperwork. It’s always a wise idea to get a vehicle history report. This document will reveal a number of important details. Most importantly, you’ll know if the vehicle was involved in a previous accident or flood.
Before buying a used vehicle, ask the seller for maintenance records. Typically, good owners keep a detailed service log. From oil changes to part replacements, you’ll know exactly what services have been performed.
Never make the mistake of forgetting to check the vehicle’s fluids. It’s a critical aspect of any pre-purchase inspection. A low oil level should definitely trigger some concern. On the other hand, burnt-colored motor oil may prove to be an even bigger problem. The transmission fluid can suffer from these same issues.
Don’t overlook the importance of checking the coolant level. When the coolant level is low, there could be a leak somewhere in the system.