Category Archives: Automotive

How to Check Used Cars Before You Buy

If you’re thinking about buying a used car, read on, because you are about to learn how to check used cars before you buy.

used-car-OverheatsThe best thing to do first is purchase a code reader that plugs in to the car.  This handy tool, which costs less than $50, reveals any diagnostic codes.  These codes are present when something isn’t working correctly.

When you arrive to look at the car, you’ll want to plug your code reader In to the port.   Locating the port is simple,.   On your smart phone just Google the following question, “where is the diagnostic port on a (enter the type of vehicle), and you should find the information.

After you connect it to the port, select the “Read Codes” option.  If any codes appear there are problems.  If it says pass, or no codes found you may want to check a little deeper by running the drive cycle monitor check.

The drive cycle monitor check will reveal past codes that may have been erased.  If it states “All Monitors OK” you found a good used car, if not you may want to move on.

The next thing to do is look under the car for any sign of motor oil or transmission fluid leaks.  Check the bottom pan on both the motor and transmission.   You should also look at other areas under the car because if it leaks only when the car is driven it may have sprayed the oil on other areas.

While under the car, grab the front axles that go from the transmission to the CV joints and see if they have any play in them.  They may move slightly, but if they are real sloppy the car may need new CV Joints.

When checking the tires, be sure to look for unusual wear, such as less tread on the inside or outside.  This is a sign that the car may have front end problems.

To be sure the car has never been in a bad crash there are several signs to look for on the body.  First, look for paint over-spray in the door jams and around the hood and trunk areas.  Paint spray is a sure sign the car has been repainted.

Also, look for bolts or screws that may be missing, or different from the other ones that hold the same part on.

One last check for previous body damage is to look for any wrinkles on the inner body parts such as the inner fenders, hood and trunk.

If you follow these steps on how to check used cars before you buy, it will greatly raise your chances of making a sound purchase.