Finding a good used car has nothing to do with luck but everything to do with research and investigation. It is important that you know how to spot potential problems at the onset because it can save you frustration, time, and money in the future.
It is required for the dealers to put a Buyer’s Guide in every used vehicle they sell. This is usually attached to the car window. So, when you go to apex auto, it is a good practice to should check the Buyer’s Guide.
When inspecting, it is important that you do it in broad daylight so you can see body defects clearly. Here’ what to look for when inspecting the exterior of the car:
- Body condition: start by inspecting the body panel and the roof. You are looking for any scratches, rusts, and dents. While you are at it, check the lines of the doors and fenders. Remember that misaligned panels or large gaps indicate poor repair.
- Suspension: it is easy to check suspension – bounce each corner and if the absorbers are in good condition, it should rebound just once.
- Glass: the glass should have no cracks. If you see a small chip, you can bring it up as a bargaining chip in your negotiations.
- Lights or sensors: confirm if the lights and sensors are working. You should also make sure that reflectors are intact.
- Tires: tires can tell a lot about the car and the previous owner. Particularly check the tread wear.
Here’s what to look for when inspecting the interior of the car:
- Odor: when you first open the door, you should try to sniff the interior. Keep in mind that a moldy and musty smell could indicate water leaks.
- Pedals: the rubber on the gas pedals, brake and clutch usually indicates the use. If a car has lower miles, the pedals should not show much wear.
- Seats: do not forget to try all the seats. At the bare minimum, the upholstery should be comfortable and not ripped.
- Controls: when you turn on the ignition, all engine light should illuminate.
- Sound System: for your entertainment, always consider the sound system by checking the reception on AM/FM. It should also have a well functioning CD player, MP3 and many more.
- Trunk: when you open the trunk, you should also use your eyes and nose for any signs of water entry.
- Roof: you can evaluate the headliner and roof trim if it is sagging.
Under the hood
Here’s what to look for when inspecting under the hood:
- Belts and hoses: the drive belts should not be frayed. As for the hoses, it should be firm and supple not rock-hard or mushy.
- Fluids: you can refer to the manual to help you check fluid levels.
- Battery: there are some batteries with a built-in charge indicator. If the battery of the car is like this, you should look for a green indicator. This means the battery is in good shape.
- Radiator: more importantly, you should consider the plastic reservoir that is linked by a rubber hose to the radiator. Ideally, the coolant should be orange or greenish.
Under the car
If the car is high enough that you can slide over, you should not miss the opportunity to do some basic checks underneath it.