When you are looking for a used car, you want to be sure that you are getting the best deal possible. You don’t want to buy a new used car just for it to break down the next week. Wrench recommends that you thoroughly inspect each potential purchase in order to avoid wasted money. Our reliable mobile mechanics are able to come and perform thorough inspections so you can be confident in your new ride. Just book an appointment and our mechanic will be there on time and prepared with all of the knowledge necessary to give you a thumbs up on your purchase.
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When inspecting the body panels, you want to look for any scratches or dents. Minor issues aren’t a huge concern, but keep an eye out for rust! If you see rust, that is a big concern. Make sure you also check the roof and wheel walls. You can bring a flashlight to get a better look into the wheel walls as well.
When looking at the body panels, make sure they are not misaligned and that there are no large gaps between them. This could be an issue from the factory or be the result of a poor repair job. The paint on the panels should be the same across the whole vehicle.
Make sure there are no cracks on the windshield or any of the other windows. A small chip might not be a huge concern, but you could use that as a point of bargaining to get a better deal. If there is a large crack in any of the glass, it might need a costly repair.
For this, you want to walk all the way around the vehicle and make sure it is level. Push down on all four corners of the vehicle and watch it bounce. If the suspension is good, it should only bounce once. If it keeps bouncing then there is an issue with the suspension.
Lights and Light Lenses
When you get in the vehicle, have a trusted person, perhaps a friend or one of our technicians, check to see if the lights are working. Don’t forget to check the headlights and taillights! Go up to the light lenses and make sure they aren’t cracked or fogged up. Without working lights you could get a costly ticket or even get into an avoidable accident.
Don’t skip the tires because you can tell a lot about a car by the condition of their tires! If you see brand new tires and low mileage, be wary about clocking. Clocking is when the mileage in a vehicle get reset to get more money from the vehicle. You also want to make sure that all the tires are the same. If they are different then they may have been replaced.
Open the car door and smell the interior. If you smell moldy or mildew, that could be a sign that there is a water leak somewhere. You can look at the floor mats for wet spots. If you smell smoke in the car, that could mean that a smoker had owned the car. Keep in mind that mildew and smoke smells are hard to get rid of, so you might need to find another car.
Make sure you test out all the seats, even the back. Nothing should be ripped or torn. If the car has low milage and ripped seats, that could also be an indication of clocking. In the front seat, be sure to play with the adjustments. You want to be able to find a driving position that is comfortable for you!
When you inspect the pedals, check to see if they are worn out at all. If they are worn out in some spots, that shows you that the car has been driven a lot. So if you see worn out spots along with low mileage, you should be aware that this may have been a situation of clocking.
If you turn on the ignition, working dashboard lights should light up for a couple seconds. If they don’t light up, they would need to be fixed so that you will know when there is a problem with your vehicle. Test out all the buttons to make sure that they are all working properly, even the air conditioning and sound system.
Inspect the headliner and trim, making sure there aren’t any stains or water leaks. If the car has a sunroof or moonroof, check to see if the open and close all the way.
Look again for any wet spots or stains. If you smell mold, that could indicate a water leak so keep an eye out for that. You could also feel the carpet to see if it is wet.
Under the Hood:
Hoses and Belts
Look at the hoses and belts to make sure they aren’t cracked. You also want to squeeze them to make sure they aren’t very hard, they should be flexible. The drive belts should not be frayed as well.
Make sure you take a look at all the fluid levels in the car. The engine oil should be brown or black. However, it shouldn’t be gritty. If it looks like the color of honey, then it had just been changed. Check the dipstick. You should be concerned if you see water droplets or any gray foamy oil on it. These two signs could show that the car has a cracked engine head or a blown head gasket. Wipe it with a rag and if you are left with metal particles, there is something wrong with it. Also look at the transmission fluid for a pinkish liquid that smells like oil. If it is brown and smells burnt, that could be an issue. It could mean that the fluid is way too old and isn’t doing it’s job anymore.
The coolant in the radiator shouldn’t appear milky or rusty. It should be a green or orange color because this means the engine oil has gotten in. If there is a brown sludge, then it had been going on for a while. If there are green spots outside of the radiator, then there may be leaks somewhere.
If you get overwhelmed with all of this information, book an appointment with one of our used car inspection professionals! Wrench is committed to bringing our customers the highest quality services in every area of the automotive world. In order to continue learning and growing our used car inspection services, we have acquired a used car inspection company called Lemon Squad! If you are looking for a professional to come take a look at a potential new used car, you will get the same care and customer service with our Lemon Squad professionals as you would with any other Wrench technician. Lemon Squad's Used Car Inspection will help you find any issues before you buy the car.
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