Checkup and Test Drive
One of the most essential and important steps you have to take is examine any pre-owned vehicle before you decide to purchase it. Such a checkup will not only reveal any invisible problems the seller did not mention or forgot about, but it will also present you a chance to get into the car and test it yourself. Such a test drive will also contribute to the general picture of car's condition. In that way you will see the real situation, condition of the car and how the previously given information corresponds to the reality.
Before starting the checkup, it is recommended for you to take all the necessary equipment that usually includes a flashlight and special outfit not to soil your clothes. This will be a thorough inspection. Except all the vital advice, there is also a compiled list of important items you have to check before buying a car. Besides, it can serve as a guide during your investigation.
The IgnitionThe first task is to check how easy the car starts. To do this, turn the car on. If it has started without any problems, it is great; if it does not, maybe it lacks a new battery.
The ControlsAfterwards test all the controls in the car. Here is the list of every item the functioning of which you can inspect: windows and power mirrors, seat adjustment levers, windshield wipers, locks, etc. Take note of every detail, as it all matters while buying a used car. If there are some drawbacks in operation of any item, it will help you save money, as you will be able to negotiate down the price in case you make a choice to buy the car.
The PedalsThe pedals can also help reveal the truth. If sitting in a car with "20,000 miles only" you notice worn out gas and brake pedals, be sure the odometer was tampered with.
The RadioEven such a small, at the first sight, detail as a radio can tell a lot about the car. Check if the radio works properly, the speakers are not blown out, the excising radio channels coincide with your predictions about the seller's tastes in music and so on. It sounds like a joke, though it is a rather serious tip, because if buying a car from the elderly lady who claims that she used a car only on Sundays driving to the church, you will find hard rock or heavy metal music, be quite attentive, as somebody is lying.
The dyeIs the paint exfoliating? Take your flashlight and check the bottom of the undercarriage. In case you have found rust, remember that nothing can be done to fix that and the situation will just get worse.
The ChassisInspect if the undercarriage is also free from rust. Find if the frame looks bent and the car does not leak. Look for fluid spots under the car.
The TiresAnother part of the car inspection is the test of tires. This is the item you have to check thoroughly as it is not cheap to replace it. To examine the level of freshness of the tire take a penny and stick it into the treads. Now check if Lincoln's head disappears. In case it does not, you will definitely have to change the tires soon.
The ExhaustThe only task you need to do is check the shade of the exhaust fumes. To do this you need to run the car in neutral and then press the gas. If you notice blue smoke, it signifies that the car is burning oil and there are some internal issues with the engine.
The Test DriveIn case the car has passed your basic checkup, take it for a test drive. The seller should be an initiator of this spin and allow you to drive the car he sells. If the car is of high quality, maybe you will be asked to give cash to hold during your test drive.
The TransmissionAutomatic transmission should shift gears smoothly, quietly and easily, that is why loud noises could point to a problem. Manual transmission, by turn, should not grind when you shift the gears. If it is like this, continue the inspection.
The Steering AlignmentCheck the wheeling alignment. For this take your hands off the wheel and see if the car drifts. In case of a steady drift you are free to request the seller to realign the wheels before the purchase.
The AirCheck the air conditioning, the way it works and reduces the heat.
The "It" FactorThe last but not the least point is to check how well you enjoy driving this or that car. How comfortable is it for you to go to work, to the shop or just to the party. Forget about buying if you do not feel comfortable or confident enough.
Self-inspecting the car is a good thing, but you can request to take the car to a special certified mechanic to look it over once again before the purchase. Being a third party, they are able to tell you about all the drawbacks and weak points of the vehicle for a small fee. Sometimes the mechanics are even ready to do that for free, so it is silly not to accept this offer and get the opinion of the professional. Besides, you should test drive a few similar cars before making a decision which car you're going to purchase. Even being 90% sure you will go with Choice A, it will be helpful to have Choice B as well as Choice C to compare it with. Having chosen a vehicle you want to purchase, after a thorough checkup you are ready to go further.