How to Inspect a Used Car Before Buying It

Used cars for sale in Cleveland

When you’re shopping for a pre-owned vehicle, it’s important that you do your research before you dish out the money. Always make sure the used car is reliable and of great value in order to save you from costly automotive repairs down the road. At North Coast Auto Mall of Cleveland, we encourage you to inspect your desired model before you buy it. Here’s how:

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Cleveland Auto Shoppers Should Always Do Their Research

Before you begin your search for a pre-owned car, do some research to identify models with a good reliability record. The reliability-history charts that accompany most car model pages provide a more detailed view of how certain vehicles have held up in 17 trouble areas, as well as overall. If you’re interested in a car that is known to have certain trouble spots, you know to pay special attention to those components during inspection.

Read the Window Sticker

Every used car for sale contains a Buyer’s Guide. Usually attached to the window, it provides important details that can be valuable to shoppers during their search for a new car. It includes model and warranty information, as well as what percentage of repair costs (if any) the dealer is obligated to pay.

Inspect the Exterior and Interior

You should always do a thorough check of the exterior and interior of the car. If possible, take it to a mechanic for a complete inspection. When examining the outside, check the body condition for scratches, dents, and rust, and look carefully at the glass to make sure there are no cracks. To check the suspension, walk around the car to see if it’s standing level. Inspect the treadwear of the tires, and have a friend confirm that all lights are still working. Don’t forget to look under the car for puddles of gasoline, oil, coolant, or transmission fluid.

The inside of the car might matter more since that’s where you’ll be spending the most time. When you first open the door, pay attention to any strange smells. A musty or moldy smell could indicate water leaks. Test out all of the seats, even if you don’t plan on sitting in the back, and look out for worn or ripped upholstery. Check the wear on the pedals, and test out all of the controls and tech features. Also, inspect the trunk to make sure it’s in good condition.

Check Under the Hood

With the engine cool, look under the hood. First, check out the general condition of the engine bay and look for splattered oil. Watch for a battery covered with corrosion, make sure there aren’t any loose wires and hoses, and inspect all fluids to make sure they aren’t dirty.

By doing your research, learning valuable information, and inspecting all areas of your desired pre-owned vehicle, you’ll be able to make a sound purchase. If you have any questions during your car buying process, our used car dealership is here to help. 

Contact the team at North Coast Auto Mall of Cleveland today!

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