Buying A Used Vehicle: What To Look Out For

Now buying a used car involves a bit of give and take. You give some on the wear and tear while you “take” on the price savings. It’s the same balancing game to be played whether you’re paying thousands for a used luxury vehicle, or hundreds for a clunker that you hope to get a year or so of use out of. What you don’t want either way however, is to get the “short end of the stick” on a deal that’s out of balance.

Perhaps you may have heard or read already that the first item on your check list should be to check the motor oil. Now while there is a lot of truth to this, you need to be aware of one thing. That is that all it takes is a quick oil change and it will of course look brand new because it is. So what I like to advise people to do is to make a list of things to look at that aren’t so easy to alter or change.

So of course you want to check the mileage on the odometer, and you want it to be in the range of what you expect to be paying for the vehicle. Now keep in mind that rolling back the mileage in a lot of vehicles is as easy as buying a new speedometer and having it installed. So if the mileage on the odometer looks “unusually low”, take a look at things like the rubber pads on the floor pedals and the carpet around them to assess whether they show excessive wear.

Now while you’re still inside the car or truck you want to make a point of checking all the electrical components, and that includes the air conditioner and heater. You see, the big mistake that too many people make is not meticulously checking all of them, and not checking, say the air conditioning in the winter, or the heater in the summer. Now keep in mind that the vehicle has to be moving for the AC to run optimally.

Then work your way around the vehicles exterior, starting by checking each tire for worn bearings. Simply grab the top of the tire and wiggle it in and out. A little bit of “give” is acceptable but if you detect excessive “play” that can be an indicator that the wheel bearings are worn out. Next climb under the vehicle to check for large oil or fluid leaks around the motor and transmission. Also check out all the rubber boots and bushings to make sure that they’re intact.

Then the last thing you want to do is to take the vehicle for a test drive. Now make sure to let it worm up thoroughly, so you can look for smoke or odd smells coming from under the hood. Also make a point of getting on a highway so you can get the speed up because that’s when you can listen for “whining or moaning” coming from a worn out standard transmission or rear differential. Also check for automatic transmission “slippage”.

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