December 31, 2016

Tips for Used Car Purchasing

Before purchasing a used car, check out these tips to make sure you are getting a vehicle that will keep you on the road.

Used Car Purchasing Tips from a Professional Mechanic

The process of purchasing a pre-owned or used car can be daunting and confusing for most people. You are looking to get a good deal and want peace of mind with your new vehicle. The first thing to check would be the current value of the car via a well known online car valuation websites such as Kelly Blue Book or CarMax. Once you know the price range of the vehicle you are interested in purchasing, stay away from anything that is marked way below the actual value, and if it seems too good to be true it most likely is.  Keep reading for some more clues on what to look for when in the market for a used vehicle.


One of the first items to check off the list before buying a used car is to examine the exterior of the vehicle. Park the car on a flat surface and make sure the suspension is not sagging and the vehicle sits relatively level. The paint and body should also be thoroughly checked and take note of any dents, rust, or scratches. It also helps to check out the paint of the car to make sure it is identical in color all the way around. Be sure to then examine the tires, they should show even signs of wear and all have similar amounts of tread remaining. If possible, give a thorough examination of the frame from below, checking to make sure there is not any modifications or repairs made. The exhaust system and transmission should also be evaluated and if there are any signs of leaks, this means there might need to be some major repairs made.


After a thorough visual examination of the exterior of the car, it is time to inspect the interior of the engine compartment, and inside of the vehicle.  Under the hood should not show any signs of rust, dents or damage. The belts and hoses should be inspected and be in good working condition, not dry or cracking. Be sure to also look for any types of corrosion or leaks on the engine block. You should also remove the oil cap and make sure there is nothing out of the ordinary, followed by the transmission dip-stick to check out the fluid levels and condition. After engine inspection, proceed to the cab and interior of the vehicle. There should not be any rips or tears in the seats or carpet, which would indicate heavy use. The air conditioning should also be checked to make sure it is working properly and blowing cold air. The odometer should also be checked and verified that a reasonable amount of miles are on the vehicle for its age, which should be anywhere from 10,000-15,000 miles per year. If the car is equipped with an onboard computer, make sure to have a diagnostic check performed to see if there is any error codes present. After a full inspection of the vehicle, one of the final steps is to take the car for a test drive. Make sure to check for any strange noises when accelerating or braking and check that the steering is working properly. Before purchasing the vehicle, it is best practice to have the car checked by a certified mechanic to make sure you avoid getting stuck with a lemon. We also offer some excellent pre-owned vehicles for sale at AutoCrafters.

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