Buying a used car is an affordable way to invest in a new-to-you vehicle that can make you happy for many years to come. However, not all car owners are as responsible as they should be, putting used cars with major issues out on the market, even in the Philadelphia, Flemington and Doylestown area. If you are looking to purchase used, consider the following signs of a bad used car before proceeding with your search.
Misaligned, Mismatched Body Panels
First and foremost, when you look at a used vehicle for potential purchase, give the exterior a good once-over. Note any misaligned or mismatched body panels as these can indicate that a major accident occurred in the car’s past. Even if the car was repaired, it could be better to go with a vehicle that has a cleaner record.
While you’re examining the exterior of the car, continue your investigation and inspect the interior of the car as well. Signs of damage, such as torn upholstery and worn parts like the steering wheel or floormats, can indicate that the car has lived a hard, long life. Smells like cigarette smoke and mildew can be hard to mask and get rid of, so make sure the car doesn’t have a funky stench to it before you buy.
Incorrect Odometer Reading
Sometimes, dishonest car owners will try to mask how many miles the car has truly traveled. Cars are usually driven around 10,000 miles a year, give or take. So, consider the car’s age and do the math to determine if the odometer reading adds up.
When test driving the vehicle, pay attention to the fluidity of the steering wheel. A clunking noise or excess play can indicate damage or wear and tear in the steering column. If you feel like you’re overcorrecting to keep the car going straight, or if the steering wheel shakes, there could be a larger, underlying issue.
Colored Tailpipe Smoke
Pay attention to the smoke coming out of the tailpipe. If it is black, the air filter might need changing. If it is blue, this can indicate that oil is burning, which is a bad sign. White smoke might mean there’s moisture in the combustion chamber, which would need repairs.
If there’s too much bounce in the suspension of the vehicle, this can indicate wear in the suspension system. You can test this by pushing down and releasing on the fenders of the vehicle; a good suspension system will softly bounce once or twice.
Lastly and most importantly, if the car has missing paperwork, this could be one of the telltale signs of a bad used car. Missing paperwork can be the attempt to cover-up multiple owners, lack of maintenance, or a bad accident. Always be sure to research a vehicle’s history before signing.
Buying Used at Fred Beans
You can rest assured that when you shop at Fred Beans Used, serving the Greater Philadelphia area, you are getting a safe and quality machine. Visit us today to see the used cars we have in our inventory and talk with our sales experts about finding the right car for you.
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