Buying a used car is a pretty risky proposition, especially if you’re buying it from an independent seller. It is your responsibility to make sure that the car has no major issues, but most people don’t know how to carry out a vehicle inspection and not all sellers will allow you to get their vehicle inspected before you buy it. So, you will either have to bring someone who can perform an inspection or learn how to identify major issues on your own. If you want to know how to carry out a summary inspection yourself, here are some of the essential checks you should make when looking at a used vehicle.
Look at the State of the Paint
One of the first things you will notice on a vehicle is its paint. You should first ask the buyer if the paint is original or if they got a paint job done. If they say they got a paint job, you will need to pay extra attention to how it was performed. When looking at the paint, make sure that you slide your finger across the body to see if you notice any graininess. If you do, this is a sign of a cheap paint job, and you should start worrying about other things with the vehicle. You should also check if you see any bubbles on the surface as it could be an indication of rust forming under the paint.
Check the Bottom of the Vehicle
A lot of people will think that it’s strange to want to look under a vehicle before buying it, but you’d be surprised at how much you can tell by doing this. You should also know that undercarriage issues can be some of the worst you could experience. An undercarriage that has been ravaged by rust, for instance, can be so damaged that it becomes structurally unstable and forces you to take the vehicle off the road. So, don’t skip that part and bring a creeper or a towel and a flashlight so you can give the undercarriage a good look. Look for signs of rust and damage, but also leaks and holes in the exhaust system. You can also take the time to visually check the muffler.
Run a Diagnostics Test
Next, we would suggest that you ask the seller if you can run a diagnostics test on the vehicle. This is something you can do with an OBD scanner. If you’re looking for a good OBD car diagnostic tool, you can check out mycarly.com. Not only do they have one of the best customer-grade scanners in the industry, but they even show you how to use their scanner and what you can get from a scan. They also run down the different types of scanners that you can find on the market and some of the pros and cons of each.
With an OBD scan, you’ll be able to tell if there are issues with the transmission, engine, or the car’s computer, which are all very important components. In addition, a good OBD scanner will get you information on the state of the car’s fuel systems, airbags, seat belts, and emission control systems, among other things.
Check the Brakes, Direction, and Alignment
Once you’ve done all of this, you will need to check how good the brakes on the vehicle are. You will also need to look at things like steering, wheel alignment, and suspension. The only way to do that is through a test drive, and you should never buy a vehicle before driving it first.
The way you test drive a car is important as well. You can’t tell how a vehicle truly behaves and all the issues it may have before you’ve driven it at high speeds. So, if there’s a highway nearby, you should ask if you can test drive the car on the highway with them.
You need to pay very close attention to how the car sounds in high gears and if you notice any strange sounds coming from other parts of the vehicle. If the vehicle trembles at high speeds, then it’s often because the wheels aren’t properly aligned or because of suspension issues. This is not the biggest problem a vehicle can have, and it should not be a deal-breaker, but you will need to point it out so you can get a better deal. You should also check if you smell anything as it can be a sign of an issue with the exhaust or ventilation system.
These are all things you need to take a hard look at when you’re buying a used car. This advice could save you from buying a lemon and losing hundreds or even thousands in the process, so take it very seriously.