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Steps to Evaluate a Used Car
Purchasing a used car can be a great way to get a quality vehicle at a much lower price. But many people worry about buying a car with unseen issues that add up to large repair bills later. If you’re in the market to buy cars in Florida, and you’re hoping for a good deal on a used vehicle, be sure to follow these steps to evaluate the car and check for any possible problems.
Certain makes and models are simply more durable than others and less likely to have major issues, even after several years of use. So, do your homework and find out which cars are the most reliable. If you do your shopping with these cars in mind, you’ll be more likely to find a car that you can trust to keep going strong, even with several thousand miles already on the odometer.
You can view a reliability guide from Consumer Reports here to give you an idea of what some reliable models might be that fit your other requirements.
Obviously, you should take a good look at any car you’re considering buying, regardless of where you’re buying it from. Giving the car a good once-over—even if you’re not a mechanic or avid car person—can alert you to possible problems if you know what you’re looking for. Here are a few things to keep in mind when inspecting a used car:
- Paint and body condition – Examine the car’s exterior in broad daylight; dim or artificial lighting can mask potential problem areas on a used car. Walk around the vehicle and look for dents, scratches, or any other signs of damage. Check the lines of the vehicle panels. If they don’t line up properly, this may be a sign of shoddy repairs. Also, check for any paint that doesn’t quite match, which could be another sign of damage that wasn’t repaired properly.
- Rust – You should also check the exterior for any signs of rust. Look at the bottoms of doors and in wheel wells. Bring a flashlight to check the bottom of the car. You should also check the car’s body for bubbling or peeling paint, which may be concealing rust underneath. Be sure to bring a flashlight along for checking wheel wells and under the vehicle.
- Doors – Open and close each door, as well as the hood and trunk. They should all open and close easily but should not be loose. Pay particular attention to the driver’s door, as this gets the most use. Check to see if the rubber seals are intact.
- Suspension – You can quickly and easily check the suspension on any vehicle by bouncing each corner of the vehicle up and down. The vehicle should rebound from the force but shouldn’t continue bouncing. Rock the vehicle forward and backward and listen for any clunking or ticking sounds in the front tires.
- Tires – While you may not consider the tires to be a major part of the vehicle, since they’re something that will always require eventual replacement, inspecting the tires can tell you a lot about a vehicle. Uneven wear on the tires can indicate an issue with steering or suspension. Tires that are worn heavily on the outer edge may indicate the car has been driven really hard, which could be causing other problems. And, if the tires are heavily worn, you may be able to use this as a point of negotiation for getting a lower price on the car.
- Interior – Give the interior a thorough inspection as well. Check that all the dashboard lights are operational, as well as other controls. Check the amount of damage to carpets and upholstery and give the interior a good sniff; be wary of heavy air fresheners, as they may be disguising bad smells.
These are just a few things that a car buyer can check for, so make sure to do this on any vehicle you’re considering.
If a car passes your personal inspection, and you’re still interested, take it to a mechanic for a professional inspection before you buy. Any responsible seller should be fine with this, but you should expect to foot the bill. If the car passes a mechanic’s inspection, you should be able to buy it with confidence.
If you’re on the other side of this equation, and you’re trying to sell a used car but having trouble finding a buyer, consider contacting U Pull & Save. We buy used cars in Florida, regardless of condition.