While the possibility of getting a lemon still exists, vehicles today are more reliable and built better than ever. There are many ways to get information about a previously owned vehicle. The most popular one is the CarFax. With every type of vehicle, there are pro’s and con’s. One has to decide what is important and what doesn’t really matter.
When you decide the time to purchase your next vehicle is now, you will need to know what to look for. Following are 10 keys things to help you get started, brought to you by The Used Car Guy.
1) Ask for the CarFax: A good dealership should provide this without trouble. But at some places, in order for you to get a free CarFax report, you may need to let the car dealer know that a car will not be purchased until a report is received.
2) Look under the hood: Closely inspect the engine. Make sure everything is mounted securely; you shouldn’t be able to shake it. Apply this same method to the battery covering. Look at the wiring connected to the battery. The wiring should either be covered or lightly bound together. Any excess oil may be an indication of leakage. Are the fan belts wore down or loose?
3) Eye the glass: Look at the window glass and see how the side windows fit against the rubber when you close it. Anything less than a perfect fit will result in excessive wind noise. The windshield should be free of chips or scratches and the rubber should be in good condition.
4) Interior: Check out the finishes in the interior, including the dash for cracks, tears or wear. Don’t forget to check the carpet for wear. What does the interior of the car smell like?
5) Exposed wiring: If the car you are interested in has power front seats, feel under the seats to see how the wiring and motor covering are secured. Loose wires could lead to problems in the future.
6) Door thunk: Open and close the doors. While shutting the door, listen for any sort of hollow sound. This could mean there is little material in the door to reduce sound.
7) Little things: Pay attention to things like seat latches. They should work with minimal effort and all handles should be secure. Stitching and seams of the seats should be even and not coming loose. Open the trunk, lift the rug and inspect for hidden rust.
8) What lies beneath? Look under the vehicle for any drips. Protrusions may get hung up with things such as parking berms.
9) Check colours: Do the colours match? Are there bubbles or chipping?
10) Test Drive: Take the car for a serious, extended drive. Drive at higher speeds paying attention to sounds. How does the automatic transmission shift? It should change gears smoothly and quickly. Find a safe area to try out the brakes. You are not really looking for what the car will do in a sudden stop, but rather how the brakes respond when you push the pedal. Shimmying, pulling to the side could indicate another issue which should be looked at.
Use our car buyer’s guide, take time and research. Above all, the car must be safe. Your life, and the life of others depend with making the right decision.