People often confuse a vehicle lemon law with covering both used and new cars. That’s not always the case, as only a handful of states have your back when you buy a used car that causes problems. To avoid spending thousands of dollars on repairs shortly after purchasing a used vehicle, inspect it before you buy it. But why is it so important to inspect a vehicle and what should you look out for?
Why should you check before buying a used car?
You can save a lot of money by buying used. But if you don’t do your research and inspect the vehicle closely, you could buy a lemon; one that could cost you tons of repairs later.
According to Hot Cars, there are many horror stories of people who buy used cars and pay more for the repair than for the vehicle itself. Some of them didn’t do an inspection before buying a used car.
As you browse, you’re likely to come across two phrases: “As Is” and “Certified Used Vehicle”. These are two different vehicle types. When you see As Is, it usually means that the seller is not responsible if anything goes wrong with the car after purchase.
Buying a certified used car usually means that the car has passed an inspection and is ready to drive. It often comes with a warranty that covers it for a specific period of time. Today, however, due to the impact of the pandemic, these vehicles may be older cars with higher mileage.
According to Consumer Reports, here are five things to consider about the vehicle’s exterior before buying a used car.
You should inspect all windows, but focus on the windshield as that is the most expensive thing to replace when you need it. In the best case scenario, there won’t be any cracks, dents or chips, but with used vehicles you never know what you might find. Chips aren’t usually a problem, but if cracks form, be aware that they will likely get worse and you’ll need to replace the glass later.
Check all body panels on the vehicle. Look for things like rust, dents, dents, and scratches. Repaired dents may not be visible to the naked eye, but using a magnet can quickly flush out the evidence. In undamaged areas the magnet will stick to the metal, in areas where dent fillers have been used the magnet will not work. While you’re at it, open and close all the doors to see how well they close. Check if the hinges are loose or in good condition. Also inspect the rubber seals to make sure there is no mold or mildew forming.
A vehicle’s tires can tell a lot about how well it has been cared for. Check the condition of all four tires. It’s always nice to see new tires on a used car, but if that vehicle has less than 20,000 miles on it, you should ask why the tires were replaced. The next thing to check is the tread. Take a quarter and place it upside down between the tread. If you see George Washington’s head on the coin, the profile is too low.
Over-inflated tires show wear in the center of the tread, while under-inflated tires show wear on the sides. If the tire profile is uneven, it is a sign that something is wrong with the suspension, steering or brakes.
The first thing to check is that the car is level when parked on a flat surface. Then press on all four corners of the car near the tires. If the car springs back once, the suspension is fine. If it bounces a few more times, the shocks (or other part of the suspension system) are bad and need to be replaced.
Make sure all lights, including the taillights, are working on the vehicle. If necessary, bring a friend to see if they all work or not. Then check each of the lenses of the lights. Are they clear or is there any sign of condensation in the plastic or glass? Are all, including the reflectors, intact and not cracked or broken?
What if you don’t feel comfortable doing your own inspection?
Let’s face it, not all of us are experts on vehicles, so we don’t always know everything to look out for. However, the five listed here are great ways to get you started. If you would like a more thorough inspection it is best to consult a professional as they can find items that we may not be able to see e.g. B. under the vehicle.
It is best to take the car to your mechanic for an inspection as the technician is usually someone you already trust to have your back when it comes to your vehicle. You can put the car on a lift to see what’s going on underneath and see if there are any leaks you haven’t seen before.
Inspecting your vehicle is important so that you can predict in advance whether or not costly repairs are due in the near future. Checking the car’s tires, windows, lights, suspension and body will give you a good indication of whether the vehicle is worth the money you would pay for it.
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