At some point over the course of your life, you will likely buy a used car. Whether you're looking for a more affordable vehicle for yourself, a first car for your teen driver, or a well-worn SUV that can carry your family and cargo to the mountains, the possibilities are endless. The key is to inspect the vehicle carefully before you buy it. Here are 5 things to look at when buying a used car.
- Examine the exterior. It's all in the details. The overall look of the car might seem great from afar, but get up close to inspect the details. Look for scratches, dents, and rust on the panels, hood, trunk, and roof of the car. Changes in paint color or unevenness could indicate previous body damage. Make sure all the seams line up.
- Look for water damage. If the used car has been in a flood, there will be water damage. Check the headlight and tail light lenses for signs of moisture, lift the corner of the carpet to look for muddy residue, and pay attention to funny smells in the interior and trunk. Musty or mildew smells could indicate water damage. Rust is also a tell-tale sign.
- Inspect the tires. Although you can and will eventually replace the tires, uneven treadwear could indicate problems with the alignment. If the car has been in an accident, new tires may only hide a bigger problem.
- Test drive the vehicle. The smooth sound of the engine is all you should hear. Humming or whining from any other part of the car may indicate other problems. Make sure the car stops smoothly and the steering doesn't pull to one side.
- Check for leaks. Look under the hood for oily residue running down the side of the engine, check for oil spots on the ground under the car, and inspect all fluids to ensure they are clean.
If you're in the market for a used car, visit Hometown Auto in High Point or Winston-Salem. Every car at Hometown Auto has been thoroughly inspected by our pre-sales service department to ensure that you are getting a safe and reliable vehicle.