The Top Physical Aspects You Should Check when Buying a Used Vehicle
You may already be aware that there are some things you should always check when you are buying and inspecting a vehicle. The exterior, for example, should go through a thorough check, especially when it comes to the paint, the panels, the lamp housings, and so on. In regard to the car’s interior, you should also assess the dashboard, the knobs and handles, and the seat belts as well as the seats. But there are some other physical aspects that matter as well, and these include the engine, the tires, and more. So how can you correctly check these elements and make sure they are working well and are in good condition? Let’s find out.
- The engine
As soon as you open the vehicle’s hood, one of the first things you should notice is that the engine, the battery, and the radiator are free from grease and have no (or at least very little) corrosion. The hoses and the belts should also be unworn and flexible or pliable. Make it a point to look for any wet spots as well, as this could be a sign of leaking fluid or oil. If there are any melted tubes, lines, or wires, this could indicate overheating – or worse, a fire in the engine.
While the engine is cool, check the fluids and see if they are clean and filled to the right level. You should also check the car’s engine oil – take out the dipstick and clean it with a rag, then reinsert it and then take it out again. The level of oil should be between ‘full’ and ‘add’. The color of the oil should also be black or brown, depending on the last change of the oil. If it is gelatinous or gritty, this could indicate a long stretch between changes. If the oil is frothy and thin and has a chocolate milk color, it may be a sign of a damaged cylinder head or block or a blown gasket. If the oil has any tiny metal particles, it could be signs of heavy wear or internal car damage.
- The tires
When you are checking the tires, see that the wear of each tire is even across its tread and it is consistent on both the left and right side. If the tires are used frequently while they are over-inflated, they will look more worn out in the middle, while tires that are under-inflated may be more worn out on the sides. If there is any heavy wear on the shoulder near the tire’s sidewall, this could mean that the previous owner drove it hard – and other parts of the vehicle may be suffering from excessive wear as well. If the tires are cupped or unevenly worn, especially along the circumference of the tread, this could mean problems or issues with brakes, suspension, or steering.
- The steering
When you turn on the engine and the car is idling, try to turn the wheel both to the left and to the right. If there is any play or slack, this could show broken down linkage or worn gears, as Young Automotive, one of the best dealerships in Utah will tell you. When you are driving the car at a normal speed on a flat road, the car shouldn’t need to be constantly steered – and neither should it wander. If the steering wheel shakes, this could mean that the wheels need balancing or alignment (but this is easy to remedy). However, this could also indicate issues with the suspension, frame, or driveline, which can be expensive.