Checking a Used Car – 9 important Steps:
A used car is a wise option when you want value for money. To avoid the risk of ending up with a used car that’s going to leave you stranded - we suggest inspecting it on your own or asking for a professional used car inspection.
Follow these 9 steps to ensure you cover all your bases and find a vehicle that’s worth your hard-earned money.
1. Check Mileage
13,000 miles per year is the average most people drive a car according to available data. Any more than that is going to start putting the vehicle at above average mileage for its model year and should warrant a discount to its less-driven peers. Edmunds and KBB are the sources you can use to your advantage when determining the market value of a used vehicle. Vehicle Inspection service like www.CarDr.com also does Odometer fraud check by comparing the Odometer reading on the dashboard to the odometer on the OBD (On Board Diagnostics). With 7%+ odometer fraud we highly suggest an OBD Analytics inspection service like www.CarDr.com
2. Check the vehicles’ history report
Investigate the Car’s History - to see if there has been any previous damage. The seller might have the history report ready to view. If not, you can download buy it online or ask an inspection company to provide it.
Please note that a CARFAX report is a good idea, but it doesn’t always tell the full story. It might be missing information is there wasn’t a insurance claim made etc. But, the good new is there are other ways to find out more about a car. For example CarDr.com obtains a Carfax Damage & Flood report as a part of every inspection and carefully checks that vehicle for it. Please see the Science of Car Inspection
3. Examine for Rust and Paint discoloration
A close look at the paint job can reveal history. Compare panels for color uniformity. If the color of the panels doesn’t match, the vehicle was probably in an accident.
Rust If you find rust on the bodywork of the vehicle, it may just be an aesthetic problem, but it might also indicate deeper issues that are costly to repair. Frame rust, for example, could impact the integrity of the vehicle and poses a threat to the car's longevity. If you see rust on the body of the vehicle, check under the hood and the undercarriage for further signs. CarDr.com’s Vehicle Inspector’s App – ensures that the inspectors don’t miss a thing – this is especially important for Exotic Car Inspection, Classic Car Inspection and a Luxury Vehicle Inspection.
4. Tire Inspection – examine for wear
Coin Tread Depth test is a quick way to check a tires tread. Insert a coin in the tread to and examine it – repeat for every tire. Please don’t forget the spare. If the grip is worn down, the tires may need to be replaced soon at extra cost to you. There may also be an alignment issue if the wear on the tires do not look even. The CarDr.com vehicle Inspection included Tire’s wear and the fact that some tires have odd makes - which could show sign of bigger damage. See tips of buying a used car
5. Check Undercarriage and look for leaks on the ground
Check the ground and undercarriage for any signs of leakage while you're examining the tires. Look closely at the condition of each of the components. If you find something that looks newer than the rest, and the seller hasn't told you of any repairs, he’s probably hiding something. Also, inspect the framework and floor pans for rust, and check the ground for signs of drips and leakages. Leak repairs – can be costly and could offer a offer a price break.
6. Open the Hood
- Check oil levels. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean. Push the dipstick in again and then withdraw it. A light oil color usually means a recent service, if dark or muddy - it hasn't been changed in a while. Add the service cost to the price.
- Look for signs of rust or corrosion under the hood. These signs are a good indication of the car’s past treatment, current condition, and life expectancy.
- Inspect belts for signs of wear. If any of the belts are frayed or torn, they may need to be replaced soon.
- Check transmission fluid. Ensure that levels are high. The fluid should be a clear reddish color
- Brake fluid. You can predict how worn your brakes are based on how much fluid is left in your reservoir. Low brake fluid levels mean the brakes need some repairs.
- Check antifreeze. Make sure there’s no oil contamination and that the color is clear.
- Check the battery. Look for leaks, damaged cables, poor contacts or corrosion.
- To replace the task of a comprehensive vehicle inspection it is important to be comprehensive on the steps above. For examples CarDr.com vehicle inspectors are required to open hood, look and take pictures of any leaks and potential pipes that are stresses. Another good used car inspection checklist is also available at CarBlogs
7. Lights: Headlight, Taillights and Signal Lights
Ensure brake lights, turn signals, headlights, and taillights are all in working order. Also, check for all interior lights are working too.
8. Driving Test
Listen for any strange sounds, vibrations. When you start the engine does it sound normal? Do any Warning /Check Engine lights (indicating DTC Error Codes) light up? Check the performance when you press the throttle. Does the steering wheel vibrate or turn to one side? Check how the vehicle handles on different road surfaces. Brakes can give you a good feel for the their wear or if they pull to one side. Don’t forget to check the parking break. If it’s a manual shift – feel the gear's shift to see if it’s smooth.
Car diagnostic scanners for used are important to read DTC error codes – If you have the more expensive ones – they can tell you if the error codes have been recently reset. To mask problems short term. CarDr.com DTC Diagnostics are performed using an advanced OBD scanner that allows you get all OBD Monitors and potential; & pending trouble codes.
9. Professional Inspection
If you’re not feeling comfortable performing items on this inspection checklist, ask a knowledgeable friend. It’s also a good idea to take it to a mechanic to get it checked out. Any problems the mechanic identifies can be used as points of negotiation if you decide to make an offer. The professional inspection fee is a small price to pay compared to buying a problem-ridden vehicle. When selecting a service check for the comprehensiveness, OBD scan tool and peer comparison. As a Comparison – is DTC codes and OBD diagnostics checked, is the inspection checklist exhaustive and to your comfort. To compares some inspection companies – pls see rank them on Checklist, OBD, Vin Fraud check, DTC Trouble codes. There is a lot of small time folks who will walk around a car and take pictures.
If you pick it well –for example CarDr.com for your used car inspection you are certain to enjoy your new “used car purchase”.