So, you want to buy a used car. You probably know your budget and what make and model you want. You probably even know what color and the year you're looking for too. If you're lucky enough to find your dream car on that used car lot and it's in your budget there are a few more things you need to consider before driving it home. You want to make sure that the car is safe and in good condition. Here are ten easy steps you can take on the lot to make sure you are getting a good deal.
1. Check for junk in the trunk - A lot of people forgets to look in the trunk of a care they plan on buying, but it's a great place to look for wear and tear. Water stains could indicate holes or leaks in the car and there should not be any rust. Trunks should stay dry.
2. Look at the hoses - They shouldn't have any visible cracks. Don't just look at them, give them a squeeze. They should feel firm, especially near the clamps where most damage occurs.
3. Turn on the air conditioning - Make sure it's cold, it works, and it smells clean. Be sure to check the condenser to ensure the car has an R134 cooler.
4. What's the odometer say? - A car should have less than 20,000 miles put on it a year on average. Keep in mind that the odometer is just one number to focus on, the overall age of the car is just important of a factor.
5. Drive the car - Too obvious? It's not very scientific, but the most important test is to just go with your gut. If it feels good to drive it, then it's probably in pretty good shape.
6. Kick the tires - Not literally. There are much more advanced ways to check tires now. Look at them to make sure they are not balding. Check the tread either by the trademark indicator or the "penny test". Also feel around the tire to make sure there aren't any nails or bulges in it.
7. Try out the brakes - They shouldn't make any noise, cause the car to vibrate, or require too much force to stop.
8. Look under the hood - there should be no rust and/or corrosion on the engine.
9. Check out the car's repair history.