ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Inspect A Used Car

Updated on June 23, 2014

Buying A Used Car

Are you thinking of buying a used car from a private seller and are not sure what to look for? In this hub i will go through some of the things that you should be looking for when buying a used car. There are plenty of con men/women out there that are willing to offload there pile of scrap to you and leave you with a big bill to fix or worse at risk of an accident. I'm a mechanic and i ve seen a lot of these cars and i can tell you that people are getting better at hiding faults in cars. I ve seen everything from gear oil or thicker oil put in the engine to sound out the noise of worn bearings. I ve seen side skirts fitted over rust to hide it. Bring a mechanic with you when viewing a car if you can. If you cant get one to go with you then maybe this hub will be very helpful to you. Below i will go through what you need to know so you don't get conned.

Spotting a Bad Engine

When spotting a bad car you always need to go with your gut. If you see something small no matter what size and your gut says it doesn't look right then go wit your gut. The first thing you should do when inspecting is check the temp gauge see how hot the engine runs and how long the car was running before you get there. Some people will drive a car hard or leave it ticking over to hide a smoke problem or engine noise which can only be heard when the engine is cold. Next you want to check under the bonnet and listen carefully to see if you can hear any excessive ticking or a rattling noise. If you hear a rattling noise its most likely that there is a bearing gone or starting to wear and if you hear an excessive ticking noise then it could be valves or tappets that are wearing. You should always remember to check for oil pressure by removing the oil cap and placing your hand over the hole, if your hand gets an oil ring on it then there's pressure. Also remember to dip the dip stick and look at the oil and smell it. If the oil is fresh oil there is a possibility that the car is burning oil and needs to be topped up regularly so ask the seller about when the oil was last changed.If the oil is sort of a white colour the head gasket might be leaking so you will need to remove the radiator cap slowly and see if the water is bubbling. If so then the head gasket is gone. After you have checked under the bonnet you should get down under the car and see if the engine is dry underneath and that there are no obvious oil or water leaks. Also check for any taped up wires that look dodgy and check for wire fittings that don't look right.

Spotting A Crash Repair

When it comes to spotting a car that was badly crashed before it can be tricky as there is plenty of ways to hide them. I ve seen people sand down rust and put a sticker over it or put a body kit on to hide a warped car. When your looking at a car check down along the gaps in the doors,boot and bonnet. These gaps should all be the same size and if there not this means that is probably got a bang before or that panel was replaced. If the gaps line up you should then check in the boot for noticeable damage. Lift up the spare wheel, pull back the carpet and clip out the plastic panels around the boot to see if there's any kinks or twists in the body panel. If the seller has a problem with you doing this then their more than likely trying to hide something. Ly down on the ground and run you hand the whole way along the bottom of the car to feel any welds or rust. Also check in the wheel arches to see if there's any rot. You should check every body panel and clip of any part that looks like it comes off or looks like it was off in the past. If the seller starts to try and get your attention while your checking the car for bangs ignore them as their trying to distract you from finding something.


Have you ever been sold a bad car?

See results

Driving The Car

When your viewing a car always test drive it before you buy it. If the seller says they ll drive it and you sit in the passenger seat say no that your not buying until you drive it. The car could be low on power or the engine missing and the seller will know how to hide this so that you wont feel it in the passenger seat. Also never test drive a car with the radio on in as you wont be able to hear any engine noise or any rattling noises that might be coming from the car. Some sellers will keep the radio up a bit to hide noises or they will keep you talking so you cant concentrate on listening for noises. If a seller is genuine i find that they will let you test drive on your own awhile they stay behind with your car.I hope some of these tips help you in the future and remember there are a lot of con men/women out there these days so be careful.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)