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What to Look Out For When Buying A Used Car

The time has come for you to buy a new car… well, a used car (it’s new to you). You may be wondering what you need to know so you can avoid buying a lemon. It’s essential to spend some time learning what you should be on the lookout for before you start shopping.

The last thing you want to do is buy a car only to discover it needs a lot of work. Of course, you’ll need to do some minor upkeep, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money on top of what you’ve already paid for the vehicle.

To save yourself from this hassle, you’ll want to take a few minutes to read this article. In doing so, you’ll learn what you should look out for when it’s time to buy a used car.

What You Should Look Out for When Buying a Used Vehicle

Although you’re familiar with cars, it doesn’t mean you’re a mechanic. There are still some things you should know before you buy a used car. Most importantly, you should know how to tell if a car is a lemon.

What to Look Out for — Paperwork

Taking the time to research a vehicle’s history should be the first thing you do when buying a used car. There are several things you’ll want to look out for here, including:

  • The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) tells you if the previous owner took care of recalls. If not, the previous owner probably didn’t take good care of the car.
  • The vehicle history report tells you if there are any title problems or previous accidents. 

What to Look Out for on the Car’s Exterior

Once you arrive at a car lot to check out a specific vehicle, the first thing you’re likely to do is take a walk around the car. As you do so, make sure you lookout for the following:

  • While you can quickly and easily fix small, localized rust spots, you don’t want to see areas that are completely rusted through.
  • When the car doesn’t sit level on the ground or has something hanging from its undercarriage, it indicates an issue with the frame.
  • A black, greasy tailpipe means the car burns oil. Additionally, heavy rust is indicative that the car needs a new exhaust system.
  • On a front-wheel-drive car, you should take a look at the constant-velocity-joint boots on the front wheels. If they’re split and leaking grease, it means the car doesn’t have good CV joints.

What to Look Out for Under the Hood

Now that you’re satisfied with the car’s exterior, you’ll want to ask the salesperson for the keys. Don’t rush into test driving the vehicle. Instead, pop the hood and be on the lookout for things like:

  • The dipstick tells you if your transmission is working correctly.
  • Rubber hoses and belts that don’t feel firm and subtle will need to be replaced.
  • Water droplets on the oil’s dipstick mean there’s either a cracked engine block or blown head gasket.
  • Greenish stains on the outside of the radiator indicate pinhole leaks.
  • A low liquid electrolyte level in the battery means the battery is working too hard. 

What to Look Out for on the Car’s Interior

If you’re satisfied with everything you’ve seen so far, it’s time to get inside the car. Before you take the car for a test drive, you’ll want to make sure that everything checks out here. Some of the things you should be on the lookout for include:

  • Large areas of damage (e.g., uneven panels, major dings) mean that the vehicle has been in an accident. Large areas of paint overspray on the inside of the vehicle’s hood, trunk, or doors also indicate such issues.
  • A musty smell in the car or trunk means that there’s been water damage in the past.
  • Make sure the rubber on the brake, gas pedals, and clutch aren’t worn through in spots. Even if the car has low mileage, this is indicative that the car has been driven a lot.
  • Stains and sags in the headliner or roof trim are a sign of water leaks, improperly fit doors, and issues with the windows.
  • A good seal is essential around the sunroof, moonroof, or convertible top so that water doesn’t get inside.  

What to Look Out for on a Test Drive

If you discover that you’re still interested in this vehicle, it’s time to take it for a test drive. There are some things you should look for while driving the vehicle. These issues include:

  • When you turn the key to the “accessory” position, all the dashboard warning lights should turn on, or there may be a blown fuse.
  • There shouldn’t be any tapping or clicking sounds when you start the engine as they indicate something is wrong with the electrical system.
  • The brakes shouldn’t make any noises, or they may need to be replaced.

Choosing the Right Vehicle

Finding a car that has none of these issues but does have a dent in it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it. At JM Dent Repair, we can help you with this issue. Once you’ve found a used car that you like, contact us to help you make it look brand new again. 

Try JM Dent Repair in Lafayette for Paintless Dent Repair and all your paintless dent, ding, crease and hail damage repair needs. Our highly trained technicians will quote you an affordable price and fix your dents like no other shop could. Call (765) 237-7290, send us a message HERE or stop by JM Dent Repair today and let’s get your ride looking brand new again.

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