What Are the Issues to Look for When Buying a Used Car?


Quick Answer

Issues to look for when buying a used car include body damage, rust, brake degradation, frame damage, electrical issues, AC/heater problems and damage to the belts or hoses. When buying a used car, the buyer needs to take additional precaution and examine the vehicle thoroughly to ensure the vehicle does not require serious or expensive repairs. Checking the background information on the vehicle is useful to uncover potential issues.

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What Are the Issues to Look for When Buying a Used Car?
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Full Answer

Rust and body damage are two issues associated with used cars that buyers can inspect visually. Inspecting these issues is easy and involves walking around the vehicle to examine the paint job for nicks, dents or scratches. It is important to inspect under the vehicle, under the hood and inside the wheel wells for rust. Rust on the engine is a warning sign of a serious issue.

Problems with the AC/heater are common used car issues that require turning on the air and observing what the temperature feels like. Electrical system issues are also common for used cars. The buyer should check for electrical issues by turning on the hazard lights, the radio, using the power windows, headlights, windshield wipers and interior lights. Starting the car and observing the dashboard lights are also important to diagnose an electrical issue.

Inspecting damage to the belts and hoses requires opening the hood and examining these components independently. The belts and hoses should be free of cracks, cuts or holes. Identifying other potential issues requires starting the engine and listening for sounds. Squealing noises and clanking sounds are indicative of issues with the engine.

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