As you're walking around the car, be sure look for:
Misaligned Panels and Gaps - This could mean that the car was repaired improperly.
Chips and Cracks in Glass - Those small nicks and cracks may fill with moisture and, when freezing temperatures hit, could become larger.
Headlights and Signals - Make sure they're fully functional.
Doors, Hood and Trunk - Check to see that the hinges are sturdy. Look inside the trunk and check for signs of water entry while you're at it.
*Tip: Bring a small magnet with you and see if it sticks to every panel. If it doesn't, the there's a good chance that body filler was used to repair damage. Just remember to wrap the magnet in clear tape to prevent scratching the paint.
Don't be afraid to give a used car a little bounce test!
Park On Level Ground - Before you check the suspension, make sure the car is on a flat, even surface.
Bounce Each Corner - Once you give a solid bounce, each corner should only rebound once. If it continues to rock up and down, it may need new shock absorbers.
Kick the Tires - Ok, not really. You'll just hurt your foot. But there is some truth to the old saying. Instead, give a solid tug to the top of both front tires. It should feel firmly in place and there should be no clunking or ticking sounds.
Under the Hood
So you're probably not a mechanic, but a simple test you can do on a used car is to touch all the hoses in the engine. The rubber should feel firm and supple, not rock-hard or mushy.
Under the Car
Here's where it can get messy, but these are a few used car tips you won't want to skip.
Feel the Tailpipe - Look for residue in or around the exhaust. Some dirt and grime is to be expected but it should be dry and dark grey. Black and greasy residue could mean burnt oil.
Check for Leaks - Make sure there are no oil drips, for one. Also, make sure the car isn't leaking any green or red fluid either.
Inspect the Chassis - Make sure that the chassis is neither bent nor cracked.
Look for Crumpling - Look for signs of crumpling or straitening, particularly under the trunk. It's a sure sign that the vehicle was in an accident.
Finally, climb on in and make sure the interior is ship-shape.
Check Roof Liner - Look for water stains or sagging on the roof liner. Nobody wants a leaky roof.
Check Seals - Make sure the seals to the doors and sunroof are intact.
Test Heat and AC - Turn on both the heater and the AC full blast. Make sure they're in working order and take note of how long it takes to heat up or cool down.
These are just a few tips to keep in mind when looking at a used car. At Kenny Ross, we stand behind every used car we sell. All our risk-free used cars and certified pre-owned vehicles undergo a rigorous 136-point inspection to ensure quality. And don't forget to ask about our No-Charge Lifetime Limited Warranty. Happy car shopping!
Kenny Ross Automotive Group