Even when you are buying a used card from a reliable dealer, such as Accent Hyundai, you should still look under the hood and under the vehicle for inspection purposes. Keep in mind that it is your ultimate responsibility to ensure that you are getting the best possible value for your money, not getting a lemon car.
Looking Under the Hood
The engine is the heart of the car because without it you have no usable vehicle and, thus, it’s the first thing that you have to look into when considering a used car. You should inspect the engine when it’s cool so that you can look at these aspects:
- The engine bay’s general condition should be satisfactory. While dirt including dust is normal, you should be wary about oil splatters on the bay, corrosion on the battery, and hoses and wires hanging loose.
- The hoses and belts of the radiator and air-conditioner, among other parts, should be firm and supple when squeezed. If these are frayed, cracked and mushy, even rock-hard, you are likely getting a lemon if you push through with the purchase.
- The fluids should be checked, too. Engine oil should ideally be honey-colored to indicate a recent oil change (i.e., dark brown to black engine oil is a sign of trouble); transmission fluid should have a pinkish color with an oil (i.e., not burnt) smell; and the dipstick shouldn’t have water droplets, foamy gray oil, and visible metal particles when wiped on a rag –otherwise, you will have trouble along the way.
- The radiator coolant should have either a green or orange hue although greenish stains on the radiator itself means pinhole leaks.
- The battery should also be in good shape – look for a green indicator and look at the level of liquid electrolyte, perhaps even let your trusted mechanic perform a load test.
Only when you are satisfied with the engine should you proceed to the inspection of the exteriors and interiors.
Looking Under the Car
Your next step is to look under the car specifically by:
- Feeling its tailpipe for residue and rust
- Checking under the vehicle for oily leaks, oil drips, and green or red fluid on the engine
- Looking for large dents including kinks in the fuel tank and floor pan
If you are not well-versed in these matters, you are well-advised to bring along your trusted mechanic to look over the engine. The money paid for the inspection will be recouped many times over with a great used car.