Does a musty smell hit you when you open any of them? If so, this could be a sign of water damage. This is probably a better job for your professional mechanic, though. One easier but still dirty! If you find a greasy residue, it may mean the engine is burning oil—a big no-no. Much like sliding underneath the car, a thorough under-the-hood inspection is likely best handled by a professional.
Still, you can spot some easy warning signs on your own. Bigger warning signs are dark stains on the engine block. That could signify a leaky gasket—which could potentially cost thousands to fix.
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Be sure to check all the fluids as well. Brake and power-steering fluid should be full. Transmission fluid should be pink or red; if it smells burnt, that could mean a transmission problem. Pay extra attention to the oil. Is there a foam residue inside the oil cap, or does the liquid itself look more like milk than oil? These are additional signs of a leaking or blown gasket. Inside the car itself, look for any obvious signs of damage, like rips or stains in the upholstery. If the car has air conditioning, turn it on to make sure it works.
In fact, turn everything on! Lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, audio system If applicable, make sure the automatic windows, locks, and seat adjustments work correctly.
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Rather, you need to focus on all aspects of your driving experience. When you turn the key, how long does the car take to start up? Does the car start making any odd noises or shaking? Those are clear warning signs. Try to put the car through a stress test of sorts.
If possible, drive it on flat ground, hills, and different types of roads. Vary your speed as well.
Having a friend with you to document all this can help as well. Saved searches Saved listings Financing Inbox Sign in. No new notifications! My account. What to Look for Inside the Car Much like sliding underneath the car, a thorough under-the-hood inspection is likely best handled by a professional.
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Used BMW. Used Buick. Used Cadillac. Used Chevrolet.
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Used Dodge. Used Ford. Used GMC. If you choose to not get one then weigh up the possible cost of any scenarios where the car has issues you did not expect. The car dealer or the second-hand seller may also try to play down blemishes or anything that may seem to suggest something wrong with the car, so do your research, check the car's history, and get a good view of the car see next point.
If you have doubts then get a vehicle history check to avoid going through a costly process later. Keep an eye out for any signs of forced entry and make sure all the windows, including any sunroof, open and close normally. A clocked car is one where the miles have been wound back to increase apparent value and asking price.
Every 1, miles removed increases the value considerably. Check the condition of the tyres, noting the tread depth and side-wall damage.
What to Avoid When Shopping for a Used Car
Check your car insurance policy to see if it says that you can drive another car with the owner's permission — this is known as DOC Driving Other Cars cover. Allow at least half an hour, and drive at different driving speeds noting how the steering, brakes and gears handle. Listen out for any odd noises and check the electrics. Kasey Cassells - September 20th, Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter.
What to look for when buying a used car? Read our 11 point checklist to see what to look for when buying a used car. Vehicle history check A car history check is vital when buying a used car.