Buying vehicles can be an adventure regardless of our budgets because we all look for a good value, but it’s hard to know the vehicle’s condition. Defined below are the steps you can consider as you make your vehicle purchasing decision.
- Start the vehicle inspection by checking the general condition of the car; inside, outside, underside, and fluid levels. Assess wear and tear, cleanliness, rust, and general condition. This can give you a good idea of the level of care and upkeep the car has received. Most cars showing obvious neglect have been neglected in all areas so we see this as a big red flag. Be careful to identify a previously abused car that has been nicely cleaned. Abuse can be cleaned, but a quality inspection will still find existing or potential problems.
- The next step for your inspection should include a detailed test drive and then get under it (we can put it up on our lift) to measure brake and tire wear, fuel and brake lines, check suspension and steering components, battery, fluid conditions, and check for hidden collision damage. Assessment of scheduled maintenance items like timing belts and fluid services: transmission, power steering, brake fluid and coolant are important as well.
- Regarding hidden collision or flood damage and vehicle history reports; these reports are good to obtain to ensure any bad history is accurately reflected in the price. But these types of damage history can be hidden from these reports so they cannot be a trusted substitute for a quality inspection. Also, sometimes a prior salvage vehicle is only slightly damaged and is sometimes the best bargain. It’s best to obtain both, a good report, and a good inspection.
- The final inspection item is an estimate for the repair costs for the items needing maintenance and repair. This provides the potential buyer with estimates to use in negotiations for purchase or to budget for repairs after the purchase.
When shopping online or at a local car lot for your next used car, take control by making arrangements with the seller for a few hours for a good test drive and thorough inspection. Call Willard Garage to schedule your quality inspection which will provide you peace-of-mind.