Damage to Look For When Buying a Used Car

Recently, I went through the awful hassle of trying to find a used car for around $2000 that was reliable, or that would at least get me through the next year or so. Needless to say, that is not an easy task. It seems like it has gotten even harder recently now that everyone is so strapped for cash that squeezing every last penny out of their broken down car seems necessary.

And, unless you are lucky and happen to know someone in your family who has a good car and is willing to sell it to you, you run the risk of getting taken advantage of. Whether you are looking at classified ads or going to used car dealerships, there is always a risk involved for you. That’s why you need to know the signs of significant damage, take the car to a mechanic, and ask lots of questions.

The Basics

For starters, when looking at a used car, make sure that it is not leaking. If the car has been parked in any one place for a little while, this is as simple as moving it and checking the spot where it had been sitting.

Buying a Used Car
If it is leaking oil, that might not be a big problem, though you should have a mechanic check it out before you consider buying the car. If it is leaking transmission fluid, which is usually red, that means that there could be a bigger problem. If the car has not gotten enough transmission fluid, it means that the gears could be grinding when they shift, and new transmissions are anything but cheap.
Make sure, when you test drive it, that you check the power windows (if it has them), the stereo, the automatic locks, the cruise control, the horn, the air conditioning, and the heater. Also make sure that the fuel gage seems to be working because that could really make issues for you later.

Looking for Signs of Damage

When checking out the car, you’re going to want to go over both the interior and the exterior really, really well. Look for stains and water damage. Look for burns and rips in the seats. Look for animal hair. Look at the paint and determine its worth. Check for body damage. Make sure that the car does not smell badly. Sniff around for smoke smells.
Going through the car thoroughly before you buy it can save you from many unwanted surprises later. So, checking for body, interior, and water damage can save you some grief.

Have a Mechanic Check It Out

Most mechanics are kind enough to take a quick look at a vehicle free of charge, especially at little Mom and Pop shops. I always take used cars that I am considering to a mechanic in the area first before I make an offer on the car since I do not know enough about cars to definitively say that one is “reliable.”
Be careful with your car buying, and try really hard not to get taken for a ride!
By Kassandra Konecny

Image is licensed under CC Attribution
About the Author:

Kassandra Konecny is a student at the University of Utah and a web content writer for clients that specialize in disaster cleanup, mold and water remediation, plumbing, and auto body collision repair. When she isn’t writing about water damage for her clients, she enjoys writing creatively.

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