Before you purchase a used vehicle, you want to make sure that you check on the performance quality of the vehicle before you purchase the vehicle. Of course, the best way to check on the performance of the vehicle is to take it to a mechanic for a full inspection. However, there are some checks you can do on your own to determine if you even want a mechanic to inspect the vehicle.
#1 Check the Oil
The first thing you need to do is check the oil. Pull out the dipstick and check the level of the oil. See if the oil is filled up to the proper level or if the engine is running low on oil. Then, wipe the oil off and a paper towel and make sure that the color and consistence is right. Be wary of a vehicle that has a lot of debris in the engine coil.
#2 Check the Coolant
Next, you want to check the coolant. You should be able to pull out the dipstick and check the coolant as well. To start with, make sure that the vehicle has enough coolant. Then, check on the color and consistence of the coolant. If the coolant is looking milky, there may be water in the engine. If there is debris in the coolant, the coolant may need to be flushed or there may be bigger issues at play with the transmission.
#3 Check for Body Rust
Next, check the exterior of the vehicle for rust. Rust is a big deal, even if the amount of rust is small. Once rust develops on a vehicle, it can be hard to stop the spread of that rust around the rest of the vehicle.
This may require you getting down and looking under the edge of the frame for rust. Look around the door frame and the trunk. Keep an eye out for raised paint a well, which is a sign that rust is hiding out behind the paint of the vehicle. Unless the vehicle is a really great buy and you really need a vehicle, it is best to avoid purchase a vehicle that has rust on it.
#4 Check for Body Damage
After that, check for body damage. VIN reports don't always tell you everything you need to know about a vehicle. Look and make sure that all of the body panels on the vehicle line up. Be cautious about any body panels that seem out of place or seem like it is patched or repaired.
This is just a starting point for inspecting your vehicle. Use this information to determine if you want to move forward with looking at the vehicle. If the vehicle seems like it is in good condition, and it drives well, then move forward and have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before you finalize the sale. You have a right as a buyer to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic; keep this in mind when looking at used cars to purchase.