The Vital Parts to Inspect While Purchasing a Pre-owned Car
Looking for a pre-owned car that is in good quality condition can prove to be more difficult than it seems. Not all sellers are honest about how they’ve cared for their vehicles over the years, which leaves the dirty work up to the buyer. Performing a valid pre-purchase inspection yourself will require extensive automotive knowledge, and it’s usually best to bring the car to a specialist for a thorough, accurate inspection before making your final decision. If you’re looking into buying a pre-owned car, the following list will help you know what vital parts need to be inspected first:
Most drivers think that the condition of the exterior of the car isn’t nearly as significant as the condition of the working parts of the vehicle, and the truth couldn’t be farther. The exterior of a car can tell you a lot about the seller’s honesty of what’s under the hood, but you’ll also be able to tell if they took pride in caring for their vehicle based on what the outside looks like. They say never judge a book by its cover, but the cover says plenty. Here’s what to look for:
- Chipping Paint, Rust, or Corrosion
- Evidence of Dents or Scratches
- Damage to Frame
Buying a car that has been stored under proper conditions will usually yield the best results; that is, a car that has been kept under a carport or in a garage is better protected from the elements that can lead to damaging effects, such as water damage or sun damage. These effects are most evident in the car’s interior, where leather seating and trim can become dried out and crack or peel. Furthermore, cloth seating can become significantly worn out by sun exposure or damage due to eating, drinking, and smoking habits. The condition of the interior of the car can give you more insight into how the previous owner cared for the it. Here’s what to look for in the interior:
- Water Damage
- Tears, Stains
- Sun Damage
- Controls and Accessories
The Working Parts
Usually it is best to enlist the help of an automotive specialist to determine if the car is in good working condition. This will tell you what the car needs repair-wise, the condition of the existing parts, and whether or not the previous owner kept up on repair and maintenance tasks. This is critical, as it could mean the difference between purchasing a total lemon versus a reliable, affordable car. In a pre-purchase inspection, here are a few things that professionals typically look at:
- Exhaust System
- Belts and Hoses
- Engine, Fluids, and Timing belt
- Suspension, Brakes, Cooling System, and More
Go For a Drive
This is a critical part of performing your research on the vehicle in question. Going for a test drive can bring up issues you didn’t think to investigate, such as the brake function and power steering function. Ultimately, it will tell you whether or not the car is the right fit for you.
Other Helpful Information
When buying a pre-owned car, you might think to inquire about the car’s service history. Having as much of the vehicle’s prior service records as possible can keep you from repeating services unnecessarily, can indicate problem areas for the car, and can keep you in the loop as to how your pre-owned car was cared for in the past.
The Importance of Professional Pre-Purchase Inspections
Pre-purchase inspections are vital when buying a pre-owned car. Trusting the statements of a stranger is never recommended when it comes to big purchases, so it’s best to enlist the help of an unbiased, objective expert who specializes in the type of vehicle you’re buying. Here at Automotive Imports, we have performed countless pre-purchase inspections for European import drivers from the areas of Boulder, Lakewood, Centennial, Westminster, Littleton, and Denver, CO. Since we buy, sell, maintain, and repair vehicles, we have an extensive background in performing comprehensive pre-purchase inspections to protect our clients. If you’d like to know more about the services we provide, including our pre-purchase inspections, please explore our website or feel free to call us directly.