For any driver in Jackson, Missouri, purchasing a used car is a great way to save money. However, if you're planning on buying a used vehicle from a private seller or a dealership, there's a detailed process you need to follow. A certified used car involves a step-by-step inspection to verify that it's running and certify its overall condition. This way, you're able to save yourself from unwanted repair bills or getting stranded in the middle of the road due to car breakdowns.
Our experts at CarSmart of Farmington reveal an interior inspection checklist that will make your buying experience worthwhile.
Check the Condition of the Seats
Car seats and upholstery can wear out in a short period. When purchasing a car, remember that you'll be sitting in those seats almost every day. For this reason, ensure that the seats in the used car you're buying are in good condition. Look at the upholstery and ensure that it's not worn, torn, or stained in any way.
Replacing car seat upholstery can be quite costly, and even the tiniest holes on the upholstery can become bigger holes over time. When you step inside the car and suspect mildew, examine all the seats carefully for any signs of water damage. Remember, a leaking roof and window can cause water damage, not just floods.
Additionally, check the controls on all the seats, whether manual or powered, to ensure that they function correctly. Most importantly, check the driver's seat adjustments to confirm whether they're working correctly, and you can find a comfortable position while on the wheel.
These power seats can be expensive to fix most of the time, which could inconvenience you, especially when you're working with a limited budget. You also need to check the seatbelts throughout the car to ensure that they are working, too.
Pay Attention to the Smell Inside
When you get inside the car, close the doors and windows, and take some big sniffs around. Take note of the smell inside the vehicle you're about to purchase. The odor is supposed to be neutral or smell faintly of a given air freshener that the previous owner was using.
If the car has a musty smell, this could indicate water inside the vehicle at some point. If there is a strong detergent smell, it means that the previous owner or the dealer is trying to cover up a particular smell, perhaps that of mildew or mold.
If the car has a strong unpleasant smell, we recommend thinking twice before buying. That is because some of these smells are very hard to get rid of, even if you try using air fresheners or detergents.
Check the Roof
Inspect the roof by checking the trim and headliner thoroughly. If the car has a sunroof, press the open/close button, and confirm whether it works. Additionally, verify that the edges of the sunroof or moonroof are not leaking.
If the car you're about to purchase has a removable hardtop, is a convertible, or has a soft top, verify that everything works and fits correctly and that there are no leaks. If the vehicle is significantly older, ensure that the headliner isn't sagging or undone from the car's ceiling itself.
Check the Instruments and Controls
Before purchasing a used vehicle, verify whether any warning lights stay on after turning on the ignition. Things like the speedometer, temperature gauge, fuel gauge, and other auxiliary gauges will communicate to you if there is a problem.
If there is any problem, alert the dealer or seller right away to check it. You also need to confirm that all the controls and accessories function correctly. For instance, check whether the air conditioner and heater work perfectly for the car's climate control. If you turn on the air conditioner and heater and the engine doesn't lag, it means that they're in good condition.
Check other accessories, such as cameras and parking sensors, to ensure that they're working. It's also important to check the car's audio system as well. Turn up the volume and listen to the audio output to ensure that none of the speakers are crackling and that the sound is clear.
Check the Odometer Reading
Don't forget to check the odometer reading. It indicates the car's age, as a vehicle doesn't age only by time but also mileage.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average person in the U.S. drives about 13,500 miles in a year. However, some people tend to tamper with the odometer reading, especially when putting the vehicle up for sale. Therefore, you need to check the gas and brake pedals. If the rubbers on these pedals are worn-out and the odometer reading shows less than 30,000 miles, you might want to investigate this issue further.
Even though this is not a definitive way to tell whether the odometer reading has been tampered with or not, it gives you some important clues. However, note that a 10-year-old vehicle with low mileage doesn't exactly mean that it's in good condition. What matters the most is how the previous owner used the car.
This Is Why You Should Buy a Used Car at CarSmart of Farmington
Are you in the market for a pre-owned car, SUV, or truck in Farmington or Jackson, Missouri? Look no further than CarSmart of Farmington because our car buying process is straightforward and transparent. We have a team of sales experts and factory-trained technicians ready to show you all the models in our inventory and help you get the right car based on your budget. We inspect all the vehicles we carry. We're also upfront about our prices and financing, ensuring you get the best deal.
Purchasing a used car can be an excellent decision, especially when you get a reasonable price and inspect the vehicle properly. Contact us today and schedule a visit to CarSmart to buy your next vehicle. We can help you find a car that suits all your needs and tell you about our other auto services.