In addition to asking the seller for the vehicle’s VIN number and looking up the vehicle history report online, you should definitely invest in a pre-purchase inspection. A VIN check is a great way to obtain an accident history and maintenance report, but this isn’t enough to make your final decision. After all, not all used cars with a clean vehicle history report are in good shape, and unfortunately, some people may try to deceive you.
Use these tips to ensure you really want to buy the car you’re considering.
Conduct a Personal Car Inspection
You may not be a trained mechanic, but you should still pay close attention to the condition of any used car you consider purchasing. When you personally inspect the car, here’s what to look for:
- Low fluid levels or leaks
- Worn tires
- Missing spare tire
- Exterior dents, scratches, or rust
- Misaligned doors
- Cracked windshield
- Electrical problems (dashboard lights, window operation, speakers)
- Musty or smoky smells on the interior that may indicate flood or fire damage
- Evidence of poor repair work
Test Drive the Car
When you take a used car for a test drive, don’t just take a quick spin around the block. Drive it over neighborhood speed bumps, up and down hills, at high speeds on the freeway, and over potholes to see how it handles different conditions. The whole time you’re driving, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the car start on your first attempt?
- Does the ride feel smooth?
- Do you notice any jerking or pulling?
- Does the car shift easily between gears?
- Does it idle smoothly?
- Does it accelerate with the amount of power you would expect?
- Do the brakes respond well?
- Do all the knobs and controls work, including the heater, air conditioner, electric windows, power seats, and cruise control?
- Do you hear any odd engine noises or see smoky exhaust?
Bring the Car to Scott’s Fort Collins Auto
Stop by Scott’s in Fort Collins for a comprehensive pre-purchase car inspection. Mobile inspections are also an option, but without a lift to place the car on, the mechanic can’t complete as thorough of an inspection.
During a pre-purchase car inspection at Scott’s, we perform all the mechanical, safety, and appearance checks you may not be able to complete yourself. We check:
- Frame and body condition
- Hoses and belts
- Fluid levels
Put the Inspection Report to Good Use
You can put a pre-purchase car inspection to good use in one of three ways:
- A glowing report should give you the peace of mind you need to go through with the sale.
- If the report comes back with some minor flaws – such as worn tires, brakes in need of repair, and leaky hoses – you can use the report as a bargaining tool. You might insist that the seller takes care of these problems first or lower the asking price so you can repair them yourself.
- A troublesome report gives you a reason to walk away if the seller refuses to repair the problems or drastically lower the asking price.
Let Scott’s Fort Collins Auto Perform Your Pre-Purchase Car Inspection
Before you finalize your car purchase, ask the seller to take the vehicle, or let you bring the vehicle, to Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair. A small investment in a pre-purchase car inspection can tell you whether you’re about to buy a great car or step into a nasty set of problems. Call us at 970-682-4202 today or schedule your appointment online.