To save money, buy a second hand vehicle. However, if you do not thoroughly inspect the car, you may cause somebody else’s problem. This guide lists the key things to check before buying a used car.

Exterior examination

First of all, look closely at the outside of the car. Scratches, dents and rust indicate previous accidents or lack of care. Ensure body panel gaps are even; uneven gaps imply that there due to work done in the past. Check whether tires have enough tread depth and wear pattern is even; uneven wear might mean alignment or suspension issues.

Also test external lights, signals and mirrors for proper operation, as well as look under the vehicle for signs of fluid leaks – drips suggest potential mechanical troubles.

Interior inspection

Next, move inside and evaluate its interior condition. Check seats, carpets, and headliners for rips, stains, and worn areas; test all accessories, such as the radio, climate control or navigation system – they should work accordingly.

Additionally, sniff around for any musty or strange odors; dampness can indicate previous water leaks or flood damage; turn on ignition and see if there are any warning lights illuminated on instrument cluster.

Underneath the hood

Pop open the bonnet and have a look in engine bay area. The first thing to look for is fresh undercoating, which could be hiding something from view; then check around gaskets or seals for excessive oiling, leaking, etc., feel hoses or belts for cracks, softness, etc..

Also inspect engine air filter; a dirty one means poor maintenance; check fluid levels, i.e., oil, coolant, transmission, brake, and power steering fluids (top off low ones during test drives).

Test Drive

Speaking about test drives – never buy a used car without going on one! Take it up to highway speeds to check acceleration or high speed performance; also go through some residential streets to evaluate braking and lower-speed handling.

Listen and feel for anything not normal– knocking from the engine could mean bad news, grinding gears too; also watch out if there’s any pulling sensation while driving straight ahead – suspension problems etc.; take it over few bumps to see how those components cope with them etc..

Vehicle History Report

Before making final decision, get a vehicle history report from reputable provider like Carfax or AutoCheck – this will show previous owners, maintenance records, accidents and open recalls.

While not foolproof, clean history is good sign. On the other hand major accidents or odometer rollbacks should send you running away fast.

Maintenance Records

Similarly ask seller about maintenance records showing oil changes or repairs done etc.; comprehensive records prove that car has been taken care of properly.

However lack thereof does not necessarily mean bad care – many people do not keep such paperwork. Just be aware that more unknowns will be involved in case of vehicles’ history without them.

Professional Inspection

If vehicle is older or higher mileage one and/or multiple things have come up during your inspection then consider paying mechanic for pre buy checking before finalizing purchase agreement.

Professional will hook up diagnostic computers and go through all major systems or components thoroughly; can identify upcoming repairs which you’ll face shortly after taking ownership.

Financing & Paperwork

Finally when buying from dealer always negotiate best possible “out the door” price (including taxes and fees); get pre approved financing before going on lot to avoid high interest rates offered by dealerships.

With private party sale make sure that seller provide clear title which is properly transferred into your name upon full payment being made; let them keep or cancel their previous registration prior driving away with vehicle.

Discover: How to Create a Pinhole Projector


When buying a second hand car, one saves a lot compared to acquiring it straight from the factory. Nonetheless, it is necessary to check its state meticulously to avoid dealing with major and expensive problem in future. Do not hurry; take your time and examine everything well; never be quick about any purchase of used vehicles.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *