Used cars have plenty of pros, but because they aren’t brand new off the manufacturing line, they can sometimes have a few secrets. To suss out any negative factors which may impact your decision to buy, and to save yourself time and money on future repairs, take some time to really investigate the vehicle before you buy it. If you’re not sure what to look for when inspecting a used car, check out this buying guide


External Condition


The body of the car is for more than just aesthetics, it can actually impact the way that it drives and handles. From the frame down to the tires, the external portion of your vehicle is important for longevity and safety. When cars are designed, the bodies are made to be aerodynamic; straight lines and symmetry is crucial. Stand on either side of the body, and putting your face close to the doors, star down the length of the car. Look for dips or curves in the metal where things may have shifted during impact.


Rust is the enemy of the automotive industry; it can eat away at a car, even if you can’t see it. Sometimes rust is covered with body fill, which is not metallic. If you think there’s an area where body fill has been used, you can hold a magnet to the area to test it out. This doesn’t necessarily mean that rust is hidden beneath the surface, but you should ask the sales person whether there’s a record of repairs in this area to determine the cause for the filler.



Open and close each of the doors, the trunk, and the hood of the car to see if there is creaking noises or loose hinges. Sometimes the joints of the vehicle, like those found in doors, have leaks. When water gets in and rests against the metal for too long, rust forms, and this deteriorates the car over time.


Finally, don’t forget to check the tyres for wear and tear. Look for patches, uneven areas, or worn down tread. If you’re buying a car, whether new or used, you deserve a set of wheels that will get you from point A to point B, so don’t settle for less.



Internal Condition


Once you’re content that the outside is in good shape, hop inside. Use your eyes to comb the interior for tears in the material of the seats, and use your nose to sniff out unusual odors. There’s nothing worse than driving a car off the lot, only to realize that the last owners kid spilled milk on the rear seats and you didn’t notice at first. Most auto dealers will detail the car and have the seats cleaned before it’s placed on the lot, but if they haven’t, they should do so before you buy.



Test drive the car to see how breaks, shift gears, and the steering wheel function. Watch out for parts that stick, or are too loose and could be cause for trouble in the future. You will also want to pop the hood and take a good look at the engine. Even if you’re not a gearhead, you should be able to determine whether the inside of the car is looking worse for wear. Check for scrapes, discoloration, or damaged hoses.


Before you buy a used car, ask to see a copy of the vehicle’s history. This should show you whether there have been any accents in the past, and how bad they were. Anything that had an affect on the frame of the car will decrease its value, and be cause for future trouble. If you don’t see any major accidents, and your personal inspection went well, don’t be afraid to buy used. Many used cars offer the same or better value than a new vehicle at a fraction of the cost.


At Nanaimo Wheaton GM, we’re always happy to assist our customers on and off the lot. For a look at our current lineup of used models contact us today You can also visit the main page of our official site for a look at what’s new.