Someone said that buying a secondhand car is just like choosing a girlfriend. You never know what you have until it’s too late.
There are a list of questions you should have answers just by looking at the car: Does it look rusty? Has it been in an accident? Does it look beat up?
If you notice a slight color mismatch means that panel has been repainted. Look at all the edges around the vehicle. Everywhere for over spray, where they did not tape it right. Stand back and look down on every side of the car for waves and ripples. If it’s an older car, look to see if has been repaired. Check to see if all the front headlines and bumper are aligned. Open and close all the doors. Make sure they align and shut properly.
Check the mileage and see if the vehicle seems to have the mileage it claims. There are lots of ways to tell if the mileage has been turned back. The first way to determine that is by looking really close on the other side of clear panel or on the black panel at the back. If you see there fingerprints, that mileage might have been altered.
Check the tires for even wear. If they are worn at the corners in the front end, it has an alignment problem or worn up steering joints. Check the front windshield for chips or cracks that might be starting. They always get bigger. Open the oil cap and make sure there is no oil floating in there. Check the color of the oil. Being black is not a big problem, but make sure is not coffee colored or creamy colored or white. That means the car have some problems in that area
The engine is one of the most important part of a car. Start the engine and listen for unusual sounds like tics, clicks and growling sounds. Put your hand on the motor and see how smooth it runs.
Check your structure shocks for oiling condition (leakage). After this you should crawl under the car and look for major oil leaks. If there is a lots of oil leaking where the motor meats the transmission you should avoid buying that car. Fixing that problem may involve removing the motor and transmission. Now you should see if the following works: emergency break, the horn, the air conditioning, lights, alarm.
Take the vehicle out for a drive. Go on the highway, find a flat spot and let go of the steering wheel. If the car pulls hard to the hard or left. That could mean the car has an alignment problem or the steering wheel has a problem.
If you like the vehicle, you’ve done your research and all is acceptable, start to do a deal with the seller. Work at a price that is reasonable. If you’re buying from a car dealer you should know that you’re paying $1000 more, but sometimes you’ll get a warranty.