Before You Drive Away: What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

Used cars are a great option for anyone looking to purchase a new vehicle. If you’re in the market for a used car, it’s important to not only see if a vehicle fits your budget but that it will be reliable. Here are some things to consider when shopping for a pre-owned vehicle.


Do Your Research
The internet can be a great place to start when beginning your search!  Online research can be helpful when figuring out what kind of car you’re looking for, the types of cars that fit your budget, and what kind of features you’d like to have. You can also do more in-depth research if you find a car you’re interested in by learning more about the previous owners or accident history.


When inspecting the car here are a few things to consider for each major area;


The Exterior
The most apparent issues with a car are going to be on the outside. Look for any dents and scratches on the body panel. What condition does the vehicle appear to be in? Is there any concerning rust or worn areas? You should also look for any possible quick fixes to the body, which may indicate that an accident has occurred. Don’t hesitate to ask your salesman for more information about the history of the car if you find one your like.

Also check the tailpipe to ensure that no burning oil is coming out. A black, gunky tailpipe is a bad sign. Healthy exhaust dust should be dark gray and easily come off. Heavy rust may also be an indicator of a bad exhaust system.

It’s also a good idea to verify the condition of the vehicle’s tires. Tires with little tread will need to be replaced, as they can be unsafe. This is something to take into consideration when you’re trying to keep within a budget.


Under the Hood
Check to see that there are no loose hoses or obviously broken mechanisms under the hood of the car. Start the vehicle to ensure it runs smoothly, that nothing knocks or sounds off, and that no fluids are leaking. Black fluid indicates an oil leak; pink fluid indicates a transmission leak, and green fluid indicates an antifreeze leak. These can all be signs of potential problems.

If you decide to test drive the car, be sure you have it inspected by a mechanic before purchase. They can tell you more about possible issues under the hood.


The Interior
Make sure that the interior of the car is in good condition. Make note of any rips or tears in the upholstery or damage to the roof.  Also check for any damage to the floor or carpeting, interior of doors, and accessory features. Not only can interior damage be unattractive, it can indicate that the car was not well cared for by previous owners.


Test Driving
If you’re ready to take the vehicle out for a drive, there are a few more things to look out for. First, check all safety features like seat belts, airbags, brakes, turn signals, and door locks are in working order. Then, start the car and look for any rough idling or vibrations. Verify that accessories like the radio and all lights, interior and exterior, are operating correctly. Notice any funny odors that may appear once the ignition is running.

While driving, test the brakes. See that they are not squeaking too loudly and that you can stop at a reasonable pace. Test the accelerator to see if it works properly. Most importantly, at some point, try to take the vehicle to a highway or a place where you can go above 60 miles per hour. Many potential issues can be seen when driving at an accelerated speed.


Ready to get started?
When you’re looking for a dependable pre-owned vehicle, we’ve got you covered. Monarch Auto Sales in Greensboro has a huge selection of used cars. Take a look at our inventory and then stop by to learn more about each car and take a test drive. We are excited to partner with you on this exciting purchase!

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