How To Perform A Used Car Inspection
Do you want to perform a used car inspection? Following these 5 steps will help you ensure you don’t buy a car with a laundry list of hidden problems. If you’re thinking about buying a used car, an important step in process is thoroughly inspecting the vehicle before you buy it. This can save you a lot of headaches (and money) down the road. Companies like damageid.com can help! Following these five steps can help you learn what to look for when performing a used car inspection.
- Check the condition of the body
The first thing to do in a used car inspection is to examine each body panel, as well as the roof. Make note of any rust spots, dents, and scratches. Look closely at the gaps between the panels (e.g. between the fenders and the doors). If the gaps are uneven, this usually means they were assembled poorly in the factory, or the vehicle was poorly repaired. Also, ensure the colour and finish of the paint are the same on each panel. Next, using a flashlight, take a look inside of the wheel wells for rust. Lastly, open and close all of the doors, as well as the hood and trunk. Inspect all rubber seals around the doors and windows for rot or tearing.
- Take a look at the glass
Walk around the vehicle and take a careful look at all the glass to make sure there are no cracks or large, cratered areas. Small chips are nothing to be too worried about, but you may want to use them as a bargaining chip when discussing the final price. Cracks, on the other hand, will only get worse and can require an expensive repair later.
- On even ground, check out the suspension
Another essential thing to check in a used car inspection is the suspension. Stand back from the car and see if it’s slumping or sagging anywhere; what you want it to see that it’s standing level. Push down on each corner of the car. If the shock absorbers are in good condition, the car should rebound only once. If the car continues moving up and down, there’s something wrong. Tug on the top of the front tires. Feel for any movement and listen for and clicking sounds. If you feel or hear anything, it could mean a suspension joint or wheel bearing is broken.
- Never buy a car with frame damage
One of the most important points to check for in a used car inspection is frame damage. Open the hood and check the saddle (this is the part connecting the front fenders and holding the top of the radiator). This should be bolted into place on either side and never welded. The bolt heads inside the hood, at the top of the fenders, should not have any scratch marks, which can indicate replacement or realignment after a crash. Lastly, check for welds inside of the door jambs.
- Are the lights and lenses in good condition?
Ideally, bring a friend for the used car inspection so that he/she can confirm that all of the lights are working. Be sure to check all lights on the vehicle: lo-beams, high-beams, turn signals, fog lights, brake lights, 3rd brake light, and reverse light. Additionally, ensure that all lenses and reflectors are not damaged, fogged with moisture, or missing altogether.
- Tires tell a story of their own
Surprisingly, a lot of information about a car can be gleaned from the tires alone. Anytime you perform a used car inspection, be sure to look closely at tire wear. Often times, a car with less than 20,000 miles on the odometer will still have the original tires installed. If the car has brand new tires and very low-mileage on the clock, this is a good indicator of odometer rollback. Also, all four tires should be the same, as having different tires installed could be a sign that they were replaced.
The wear on the tread should be even across the width of the tire, on both sides of the car.