What To Look for In a Used Car

Buying a used car can save you a great deal of money upfront while still offering you the quality and experience that you deserve. However, you can't just go out and buy any used car. Doing your due diligence is crucial to getting a deal that is exactly as advertised. Otherwise, you may end up with a vehicle that has more issues than mentioned in the ad or by the previous owner. Are you looking for a used car? If so, here's what you should look for in the interior to get the best quality for your purchase.

Pay Attention to the Smell Inside of the Car

If you've purchased a new car in the past, you likely fell in love with that new car smell that you first experienced when you got behind the wheel. Used cars won't have that same scent, but they should still smell rather fresh. Both dealerships and private sellers wanting to sell a used car will take care to get it detailed and ensure that it's in pristine condition for its new ownership.

If, however, you get into the car and the car is anything but fresh, this could indicate any number of issues. For example, a smoky smell could indicate that the smoke from cigarettes has ingrained itself into the upholstery. Meanwhile, a mildew smell may indicate that there's mold or other issues with moisture due to an accident or another incident. Put simply, a car that smells anything other than fresh is a good indicator that it wasn't taken care of and that there's possible damage to it currently.

While the smell of a car is certainly not the end of your examination, it's certainly one easy way to determine whether or not the car you want was kept in good condition with its previous owner.

Check for Interior Damage or Issues

When you get behind the wheel of a car, whether new or used, you want to ensure that you're getting the best possible experience behind the wheel. Make sure to examine areas such as:


Beyond the smells that you may notice while in the car, are there any visible signs of damage to the upholstery? This may include stains, rips, or other visible issues. If so, this is a major surface-level red flag when shopping for a used car.

Seats and Seatbelts

When you get behind the wheel of the used car, how does it feel? Are there any issues with support? If you try moving the seat forward or you try pushing the seat back, do you experience any issues along the way? When you go to put your seatbelt on, does the seatbelt get caught and have difficulty clicking in? Make sure all the components related to the seat work. Note any damage that could prove dangerous while you're on the road or make it difficult to get the full functionality out of your vehicle.

Mirrors and Glass

While this may also be a part of your exterior check, it's always a good idea to double-check the glass parts of your vehicle. Are your rearview mirror and side mirrors clear and free of any damage? Are your windshield and all your windows clear and free of damage as well? While small cracks may seem like no big deal, they can quickly spread and become an issue that costs you a lot of money to fix. You should check up on the buttons controlling each of these areas to ensure these function as well.

Driver Information Center

Upon turning on your car, you should see all the essential information about it on your driver information center. Some lights that may come on, such as the check engine light, aren't always a cause for concern. However, a blinking light and a light that has been on for a while can be a serious sign that something's wrong with the car. Take note of any lights that are on in your car that shouldn't be and do further research on your own time to understand what each of these lights mean.


Once you turn on your car, do you notice any noises that concern you? Clunking, vibrations, popping, grinding, and backfiring are not normal, even in a used car. Your used car should sound completely normal when you go to drive it off the lot.

This might be an extensive list of areas to check, but it's always better to be safe than sorry when you're purchasing a used car.

See If and How Well the Amenities Are Functioning

The interior amenities of your car can cost a pretty penny to fix. This is why it's crucial to see if they're working when you test drive the car. Things like your heating and air conditioning, speaker system, heated seats, and beyond should work like a charm. If you find that these elements of your desired model experience issues or aren't working at all, it's time to look for another vehicle that does function optimally.

Here at CarSmart of Farmington, Missouri, we ensure that you get a high-quality used car by putting each of our used models through a stringent inspection process to guarantee your satisfaction. If there are any parts that aren't working, we don't put the vehicle out on the lot until we've properly carried out the necessary repairs. Unlike private sellers, we also walk through the vehicle's history with you and provide you with the CarFax report so you can rest assured you know everything you need to know about your used car.

With perks like ample financing support, car delivery, and friendly staff to guide you through every step of the process, it's never been easier to get the used car of your dreams. Contact us today so we can work with you to help you find your ideal used car or truck model!


CarSmart of Jackson

2856 Sappington Dr

Jackson, MO 63755


Think CarSmart

4854 US Highway 67

Farmington, MO 63640