When you decide on buying a used car, use this simple buying guide for used cars to make sure you do not make mistake and buy a wreck. A simple visual inspection should be enough to help you stay away from bad used cars.
Naturally, it cannot replace a thorough inspection by a qualified mechanic, but it can help you decide whether to proceed with car checkup or not.
1. Check out the odometer/mileage. See if the numbers there are reasonable. Average mileage for personal cars is around 15,000 miles per year. In case, that mileage ad up, look for the overall car condition.
Until just a few years ago just by looking at the dashboard anyone could have easily seen if the mileage has been tampered with. Today however if professional does it, not even other mechanics will be able to tell the difference. However, there are always a few “smart” DIY mechanics that might try to scam you.
In that case look for any scratching signs around the odometer, see if any of the screws are missing or are mismatched. Look closely at the drivers seat for any wearing signs, also check the floor mat (not very indicative because you can always buy a new one) and the pedals (excellent place to look for, not many scammers will go as far as restoring the new look).
See if the car you plan on buying has an oil change sticker and if it matches the mileage.
2. Check the vehicle VIN (vehicle identification number). Use VIN to get a complete vehicle background report. You can get information such as its repairs, accidents, assembly place, and odometer history.
You can even find out if the car has been used as rental, leased, used as taxi or if a lien is paced against the car in question. However before you decide to cash out and pay for the report check first if you have the right VIN.
You can find the car VIN in one of three places, vehicle registration card, manufacturers label (look at the drivers side door). See if there is a VIN in all those places and compare to see if it is the same. Look also for any signs of VINs being tampered with, changed or missing VIN is a sure sign of a car being stolen.
3. Look for the signs of bodywork. Some of the bodywork signs are parts where there is mismatch in paint, paint feels rough, look if there are ripples or bumps in the paint or if there is paint over spray in the seams.
Next, you should look for signs that the vehicle has had bodywork done. Signs such as these are usually sign of a recent car accident.
4. Check for signs of rust, fluid leaks, tire wear (check if tire wear is equal on both left and right side, also tires can be very expensive to replace just after the car purchase).
Check also condition of the cars interior, check if all the signal lights work and are not burned out, and see if all the switches work as they should. The point behind your car check up is to see if the car has been maintained properly.
I hope that this simple buying guide for used cars has helped you avoid scams. If you apply these four simple checks, you find the car to be in good shape your next step should be to take it to a mechanic for a thorough inspection.