Getting a used car nowadays is not as terrifying a prospect as it was before the internet. The government maintains a database of vehicular records so consumers can have access to a particular vehicles history and encumbrances if there are any. A VIN or ppsr check will put to rest most fears and are just a click away, right at the comfort of your home. Let us say you have checked a car and is now preparing for a more thorough inspection and want to look at the car “in the metal” so to speak.
Do your research first on the make and model of the car you are interested in terms of common problems and mechanical or engine issues. You can find out this information online, from the manufacturers own website and by joining forums for people with similar vehicles. Social Media groups are now quite popular and are great sources of information for virtually anything. Furthermore, you can connect with people that have similar interests and chances are most would be willing to help you out. This is also a good avenue to find out what the going rate for the particular make and model is going. Below are some of what to look at in the mechanical sense.
Look carefully at the paint job before you even get into a car. Check for any irregularities or waves when you look at the surfaces at an angle to see indications of a paint job done. A magnet should come in handy for this as magnets will lose strength when encountering a lot of body filler in the car surface.
Under the hood
While in here carefully check for any signs of leakage and look at the oil from the dipstick. Check for the belts if there are cracks or any visible wear and tear. Check the maintenance sticker for the timing belt if the car is equipped with one. Among them all, the timing belt is the most important as having one break will damage your engine at a terrible cost.
Tires and Shocks
These may seem like a not so important part but tires can save you hundreds of dollars if still serviceable. Make sure the car is on level ground for you to gauge how the car “sits” as this is a give away if there is anything that needs replacing in the shock absorbers and the tires themselves.
This is very straight forward. The less it is saying the better. A good car will have a mileage between 15-25k on the odometer for every year of its existence.