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44 Auto Dealer's Tips For Choosing The Best Used Car
- Examine the car's exterior thoroughly. Look for rust, dents and evidence that portions of the car have rusted out and been repaired with body putty.
- Look under car for breaks in the frame and signs that frame has been welded.
- Check for excessive rusting of frame.
- Examine condition of muffler, tailpipe and exhaust pipe.
- Look for signs of oil or transmission fluid leakage under the car.
- Check for signs of fluid leakage from shock absorbers.
- Examine condition of tires, including inside surfaces.
- Look for signs of brake fluid leaking on the inside of tires.
- Walk around the car and check the condition of window glass.
- Examine the condition of lenses of all lights - front, back and sides.
- Test all lights to make certain they are functioning - headlights, taillights, flashers, backup lights, brake lights, turn signals, etc.
- Push down on the corners of the car, front & back, to check the shock absorbers. If the car bounces up & down several times, the shocks are worn.
- Stand back and see if the car is level. If not, the springs may be weak.
- From a distance, look for evidence of an accident, dents, paint that doesn't match, ripples in the fenders, etc.
- Check the spare tire. If it is cupped or worn unevenly, something may be wrong with the front end and a front tire is being used as a spare.
- Make sure the car has a jack and that it is in good working condition.
- Lift the hood of the car & examine the condition of the belts & hoses.
- Check the battery to see if it is cracked.
- Pull out the oil dipstick to see how dirty the oil is.
- Check stickers (on doorposts or under hood) to see when the car had its last oil change & lubrication, and whether it was serviced regularly.
- Examine the upholstery, safety belts and carpeting.
- If the car has seat covers, look under them for wear, tears, dirt.
- Badly worn carpeting or upholstery may be a sign of heavy vehicle usage.
- Check the break pedal for free play.
- Turn on all the lights one at a time and check to see they are working.
- Take the car for a test drive over various types of roads.
- While on the road, test the brakes for pulling.
- Be alert for vibrations during the drive, for signs of front-end trouble.
- If the car has manual transmission, be alert for excessive play, grabbing or rattling of the clutch.
- Look for vibrations or unusual noises from the engine, transmission, rear end or wheels, that may be a signal of trouble.
- Push the gearshift through its various positions and see how the car reacts.
- Let the engine idle and be alert to noises or vibrations that could indicate a badly tuned engine or one with bad valves.
- Be alert for any unusual odors. These could tell you that all is not well.
- If the automatic transmission doesn't shift smoothly or is there is hesitation when it shifts, the transmission may be in need of repair work.
- When test driving, step on the gas & look into the mirror for smoke from the exhaust. White or bluish smoke may mean an overhaul is needed.
- Check to see how much power the car has on a hill.
- Turn on the heater to see if it works.
- Check out the air conditioning to see if it is working.
- Turn on the radio.
- Try the windshield wipers.
- If possible, run the car through a car was to see if it leaks.
- If possible, before you sign on the bottom line, have your own mechanic check out the car or take it to a diagnostic center.
- Never buy a used car at night, in the rain or when you are in a hurry.
- Have the man in charge put in writing & sign all promises BEFORE YOU BUY!
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