Car Buying Tips

3 Essential Tips For Used Car Shopping

What are you looking for in a used car?

Whether from a private owner or a used car dealer, buying a vehicle is large financial and life decision. That’s why you want to be sure to thoroughly inspect any potential car. Here are 3 essential areas to check on your selected vehicle to ensure you’re purchasing a quality automobile.

Exterior Features

Check the outer body of the vehicle for dents, rust, and scratches. You will likely notice some minor imperfections, but large cosmetic issues will give you a good indication of the car’s condition and how it was treated. See if the windows, doors, hood and trunk can be open and closed easily. The body panels on the car should also line up evenly. Check to see that all lights, blinkers and dash controls work. Finally, check the tires to see if they are all the same brand, measure the tread, and ask the seller if they have been regularly rotated.

Interior Features

Next, open the door and examine the car’s interior. Note whether there is any strange odor, which could be an indication of mildew, mold, or water damage. If you notice a musty smell, lift up the floor mats and look all around to flooring for these damages. Check all electric or manual seat adjustments to ensure that they work properly and that you can sit comfortably to drive. Turn on the car and check all of the controls for heat, cool, and audio. Watch for any warning lights that show up on the dash, and check that all of the switches and buttons in the vehicle can be operated.

Under The Hood

There are five fluids you must check to ensure that the car is in good shape. Firstly, the anti-freeze should be a green or orange color, not rusty or cloudy. Ensure that the radiator itself does not have any green or orange staining, which could indicate a leak. Next, check the oil. It should be a dark brown or black color, but if it has just been changed, it may be more bronze or amber. If there is foam or water droplets on the dipstick, or if the color appears grey, these are signs of a serious problem with the engine. The transmission fluid will be pink in color and smell like oil. If it smells burnt, this could indicate a transmission problem. Finally, check that both the brake fluid, and the power steering fluid are adequately filled.

After you give the car a good look-over, it’s time to take it for a test drive. Follow these essential steps, and you’ll be on your way to getting a great set of wheels. Good luck, and happy car shopping!


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