Whenever you decide to purchase a new vehicle, you’ll most likely have some questions and some decisions to make. For starters, do you want to purchase a brand new vehicle or a used car? Many people settle on the latter and for a number of reasons. If you simply need a to and from work solution, then a reliable used car makes sense. If you don’t have excess money to throw about on a new car, then a pre-owned vehicle can help you not break the budget. Whatever the motivation, you need to be sure to do your homework before you commit to any purchase. What are some things you should visually inspect before even test driving a car or having a mechanic look at it? Continue reading to find out about a few items that (should) make or break your decision to evaluate the vehicle any further.
Inspect the Paint
Any used car is likely to have some issues – a couple of lights may need to be replaced, some of the carpet may be damaged or one of the windows might not roll down. These are usually associated with not properly maintaining the car (which can speak volumes about its condition), but many times, these are small issues that were never fixed because they just weren’t big deals. When it comes to paint, however, it is vital that you assess the situation. Flaky paint indicates neglect, while waves when looking at it from the side indicate that the used car has had a paint job (possible wreck in the past?). Rust is another huge problem: you don’t want to buy a used car with an underlying rust issue waiting to pop up in the coming months or years. You can visit Gumtree to find a variety of vehicles with quality paint jobs and not-so-great ones, which can help you learn how to identify potentially problematic cases.
Check Under the Hood
This seems so cliché, but even those who do not know much about working on new or used cars will be able to tell if some things are amiss. If you spot any dents, then you may be looking at a vehicle that was wrecked in the past. Damage to particular parts – such as hoses, the battery or radiator – may also indicate this. Again, rust is another thing to watch out for, as any rust under the hood indicates that the car has been taken care of poorly and is probably not worth purchasing. Every fender should also have a vehicle identification number – if it is not there, then that means that the fender has been replaced at some point.
Try the Climate Controls
While it may seem fairly insignificant, the need for properly functioning heat and air conditioning extends far beyond convenience. A problem with the air conditioner may simply require more coolant, or it may be indicative of an issue with the engine. A cracked or blown head gasket, for instance, will make the heat not function as intended. Other troubles can cause the air conditioning to not function properly, giving the used car a huge red flag. Never buy a used vehicle that doesn’t have a perfectly-functioning climate control system, as it may be the indicator of bigger problems.