Car Inspections: 25 Tricks to do it like a pro


You have been looking for a nice car in your price range for a month and your heart starts to beat a little faster as you walk up to a shining used car that is in perfect condition! Or is it in perfect condition? Inspections are tricky and if you think intuition will guide you to a good car, you’re wrong.

First of all, there is no replacement for having a mechanic look at a car before you buy it. Make sure somebody has put the car up on a lift, checked out all the mechanicals, and given you a full report on the cars problems (or not). Mechanics will be able to find leaks, wear, and problems that aren’t visible to an untrained eye looking down at an engine with the hood up. Now that the mechanic has done his or her job, it’s time for you to do your own inspection and make the final decision. After all, it’s your own money. Bring a small magnet,a rag or box of tissues (to clean your hands), and a print out of this blog so that you won’t forget about the insider tricks that will help you make sure you’re getting a quality car!

A. Rust Rust is cancer so finding it is important.

TRICK 1: Magnets will not stick to car body fillers, so use your small magnet to check panels, wheel wells, fenders and door for rust and body damage.

B. Body TRICK 2: The factory alignment of exterior car panels is extremely precise. Look at the gaps between panels, doors, hood, and trunk. If the gaps are not even, this could be a sign of major damage.

C. Paint A new paint job is a sign of past distress for a car. TRICK 3: Open the hood and look for overspray in the engine compartment. Also, lift the molding edge on windshield at the paint line to check for repainting.

D. Tail Pipe TRICK 4: Check the deposits in the inside of the tail pipe with your finger. If it’s white or gray, everything should be okay. Black and sooty may mean a tune-up is needed. Black and gummy means something is wrong and the car is burning too much oil!

E. Oil TRICK 5: Oil that is murky brown, gray, or bubbly has water in it and is a sign of a cracked engine block. TRICK 6: Feel the oil with your fingers. Grit or gum means the oil hasn’t been changed often enough.

F. Doors TRICK 7: Open and close the doors without slamming them. If they hit and bounce or just don’t close easily, this could be a sign of major damage.

G. Trunk TRICK 8: Lift up the mat in the trunk and look for signs of rust while you are checking out the spare tire.

H. Hitch TRICK 9: Check for signs of a hitch being attached the car. Towing can be ruinous to an engine and transmission.

I. Tires

TRICK 10: Look at tires for even tread wear. Uneven tread wear could be a sign of major damage.

TRICK 11: Make sure all four tires are the same tire. If tires are rotated frequently, properly inflated, and there is no damage to the car, all four tires will always be replaced at the same time.

J. Shocks Check to see if any of the shocks are leaking.

TRICK 12: If you bounce the car five times, it should only bounce once after you stop.

K. Seats Sit in every seat and make sure they aren’t lumpy. Look for tears, damage, and that they don’t move when they are locked in position.

L. Floor Mats TRICK 13: Look under all the mats for signs of rust.

M. Pedals, Armrest

TRICK 14: Check to make sure the wear on the pedals and the driver’s side armrest look appropriate for the mileage on the car. N. Smell If the car is has a very strong deodorant, it may be covering up a musty smell that resulted from water damage, leaks, or something worse.

O. Instrument Panel Make sure everything works – radio, heater, AC, clock, horn, etc.

TRICK 15: When you turn the car on, make sure ALL the lights on the dashboard light up. Lights that don’t work could be burnt out (usually not easily replaceable) or could have been disconnected to hide a problem.

P. Lights Check to make sure all lights work (brake, turn, reverse, headlights, interior, etc)

TRICK 16: Make sure the signals self-cancel after turning. Q. Windows Check that all windows operate smoothly and don’t make any unexpected noises.

R. Glass Check for broken or cracked glass.

S. Transmission Fluid

TRICK 17: Low fluid means a leak, brown means no maintenance has been done on the transmission, a burnt smell means the transmission has a lot of wear, pieces of metal in the fluid means the gears are being ground off.

T. Engine Check for leaks.

TRICK 18: Steam cleaning and engine is a way to hide leaks. Make sure the car has been driven enough after the cleaning so that leaks can still be identified.

TRICK 19: Squeeze water hoses to make sure the soft and flexible as compared to hardened and cracked.

TRICK 20: Make sure there isn’t too much play in the fan blade which can mean the water pump drive shaft may fail soon.

U. Belts Check for frayed, cracked, and loose belts. V. Steering

TRICK 21: Look out the window at the wheel when you are turning the steering wheel. If it doesn’t turn in the first two inches of steering wheel movement, there may be major suspension problems. With a power steering car, turn and lock the wheel in both directions. There should be no screeches or bouncing.

W. Exhaust

TRICK 22: While you’re driving, check the exhaust. Blue smoke means excessive oil burning, black smoke means it may need a tune-up, white smoke on startup is just water in the exhaust line, and white smoke while driving means there is water in the cylinders.

X. Brakes

TRICK 23: Make sure there is at least two inches between the pedal and the floor when the brake is fully applied.

TRICK 24: Brake suddenly when driving and listen for screeches. A car that pulls or dips to one side means brake or potentially costly suspension problems.

Y. Leaks

TRICK 25: Drive the car through a car wash to check for water leaks.

Z. Underneath If you really want to picky, TELL the salesperson to put the car up on a lift for you to take a look. Look for engine leaks, transmission leaks, brake line leaks, shock absorber leaks, accident damage or repair, frame welds, and rust.

Make sure to check a car out in person, especially if you’re looking for online used cars. You may find cheap used cars, but they might not be quality.

Thanks to Massey for writing an excellent and well hidden article titled “Inspecting Your Purchase – Six Ways to Identify a Lemon” which has a lot of great information about inspecting cars. Also, if you think I have missed something in this list or want to discuss the inspection process then please leave a comment! Thanks! Also, be sure to check out Carsala for used cars prices



Source by Colby