Check the Paint
Checking out the car’s paint job for dings, rust spots or other imperfections helps you to see if you’re buying a winner or lemon. Obvious wear and tear damages warn you to stay away. Waviness indicates poor paint jobs. Check between panels. If you sense roughness this indicates masking tape marks from previous painting.
Go Under the Hood
Check for rust, damage or dents under the hood. Damaged or poorly maintained automobiles often show signs of wear and tear in the engine area. Go over this spot with a fine toothed comb. Note telltale signs of careless maintenance. Fenders should have decals with Vehicle Identification numbers. If this isn’t the case it means the fender has been replaced. Stay away from any care with serious damage under the hood as it may indicate problems with other parts of the ride.
Pop the Trunk
The trunk of the car should be in good condition. Even though you may overlook a trunk because it’s simply used for storage finding heavy rust or other damages can be a red flag. Cracks or holes in the trunk can lead to water damage throughout this area and it can also cause issues with the fuel line.
Assess the Upholstery
Look over the seats. Check for stains, rips or any types of damage. If a car is new or used you should see minimal damage to the interior. Keep an eye out for cigarette stains where butts have been put out in car seats. Sand or oil on carpets can be a pain to remove. Blood or juice stains are also difficult, stubborn problems. Move on to the next car if you find too much damage to the upholstery.
Take it for a Spin
Driving the car for a test run gives you a feel for the automobile. Never buy a new or used car unless you drive it for an hour or longer. You’ll never know how it handles until you sit behind the wheel. Accelerate rapidly to test how the ride moves into heavy traffic on the highway. Give the brakes a strong pump or 2. Listen for squealing when braking as this may indicate a brake dust build up.
Cruise at both low and high speeds. Make left and right turns, back into driveways and practice parking to become familiar with the car.
Review the Odometer
How many miles are you looking at? This is a biggie because wear and tear greatly reduces a car’s value. Most cars get about 10,000 to 15,000 miles yearly but certain factors may bump up mileages to 20,000 or more. Since cars age by both time and mileage take into account the odometer reading and year to make a prudent choice. Purchasing an older car with low mileage might not be the wisest decision.
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