Buying a new car is better and safer today than it has ever been before, but that doesn’t mean that the entire process always goes off without a hitch. At Auto Stop, we are the Baltimore auto repair experts, and we’ve seen many used car buyers who didn’t end up with exactly what they were promised. How can you properly inspect a used car to ensure that you aren’t overpaying or riding away in a car seconds from death? Here are our best tips.
Take a Walk Around
Start by walking around the used car to survey the outside:
- Place your head against a fender of the used car and look down the side of the vehicle. Are there any irregularities or bumpy portions in the metal? This is a sign that the used car has been in an auto accident or collision. Another sign of this is paint that isn’t perfectly matched or paint with an orange-peel bumpy texture.
- Look underneath the front hood to see if there is anything obviously out of place. Ask the owner to start the engine and let it warm up. As the engine heats up, pay attention to see if you can notice any strange smells during the process. Burning oil, burning transmission fluid, and antifreeze are all signs that something is not quite right with the used car.
- With the engine still running, the used car on a level piece of ground, and the transmission in park, slowly pull the transmission stick and look at any fluid there. This fluid should always be pink in color and have a slightly sweet smell. Is the fluid darker than magenta in color or burnt-smelling? This is a sign that the used car had an overheated transmission at one point and that it has been run with a low fluid level for an extended period of time.
The inside of the used car is also a great way to tell how well the car has been cared for over the years. Open the door and look at:
- Any carpeting or upholstery—if these key elements are in bad condition, it tells you that the seller is a generally messy person or that they haven’t taken the best care of their car
Take a Drive
Last, but not least, take a test drive in the used car. This is the best way to pick up on potential performance issues before taking the car into the Baltimore auto repair experts for a check-up. Listen for any thunks, bumps, or sharp noises while driving. How does the car pull? Does the steering wheel stay off center? How do the brakes react when you hit them hard? All of these are indicators of overall vehicle health and condition.
Car Maintenance and Service from Auto Stop Limited
Auto Stop Limited Inc. is happy to service your vehicle and make sure all of your maintenance needs are properly addressed and resolved. Contact Auto Stop Limited Inc. online or give us a call at (410) 467-7600 to get your questions answered today. To get more vehicle maintenance tips, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.