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How to Inspect a Used Car for Purchase

How to Inspect a Used Car for Purchase


Hey guys, ChrisFix here, today, I’m gonna show you how to inspect a used car before you buy it. I just drove by this car for sale on the side of the road, so I’m gonna go take a look at it and show you everything that I normally look at when checking out a used car. Now there’s no owner to open the doors, so I can’t go for a test drive or anything like that. I literally just saw this on the side of the road, and I’m seeing this car for the first time with you guys. So I’m gonna show you how to figure out if it’s worth the time and effort to call up the owner and go for a test drive. Now the best part is, anybody could inspect a used car, you don’t need to be a car expert. You just need to know what to look at, and I’m gonna show you all of that. So let’s begin. Now when inspecting a used car, there are five main things to look at. The first thing you need to look at is the For Sale sign. It gives you a ton of information, such as mileage and price, sometimes that price is so ridiculously high it’s not even worth your time, cause you’ll never negotiate it down to your buying point. If all of that checks out, the second thing you’re gonna look at is the body. You’re gonna look at dents, scratches, rust, and stuff like that. The third thing we’re gonna look at, are the wheels and tires, because tires and wheels could get expensive, and it’s definitely important that your tires are in good shape. The fourth thing we’re gonna look at, is the interior. Since we can’t get in the car, we’re gonna look through the window. But we’re gonna look for stuff like rips, tears, and any options the car has. And number five, the last thing we’re gonna look at, is underneath the car. You’re gonna look for any rust, leaks, and any damage to the frame that indicates that it might have been in an accident. This might seem like a lot to remember, But I made it really simple for you, and in the description is a link to my to my how to buy a used car checklist. This way you can print this out, keep it in your car, and you wont forget to inspect anything when you see a used car on the side of the road. It’s all right here, and you can even take notes, so let’s get started. The for sale sign is gonna give you tons of information. You wanna look at the year, which is an ’04; this is an X-Type; this is the 2.5, cause they did make a 3.0 The mileage is very important, and then it gives you some information. It says it runs great, needs nothing, all-wheel drive, navigation, sunroof. Over here it says text and call, and you always call, I’ll show you how to do that, at the end of this video, I’ll explain the best questions to ask ’em, and then he has his original price crossed off, and then it says reduced to 3,000. Now this is a little trick people use cause then you feel like ‘Okay, I don’t have to negotiate, I already got 500 dollars off,’ but don’t fall for it. Just focus on the actual price, which is three grand. And if they don’t include a price on their for sale sign, then don’t even bother with the car. Think about it, would you shop in a store that doesn’t have prices on its items? No! So don’t waste your time, that’s one tip I’ve learned after looking at thousands of used cars. So now that we’ve looked at the for sale sign, let’s go look at number two, the body of the car. Alright, this is what everybody’s good at, inspecting the body of the car. You’re just gonna be looking at the bodywork, to see if there’s any damage. So let’s start at the front here, right away something that grabbed my eye is this scratch right here. Unfortunately, even a little scratch like this, could cost you a lot of money. So this brings up the important point of you have to figure out what you’re looking for. If blemishes like this don’t bother you, scratches and dents can significantly drop the price of the car, cause people really focus on looks, and that ends up working in your favor. And don’t think that fixing scratches and dents is easy. Even to remove a dent like this, could be up to 100 bucks. And then if there’s a scratch where you need to do some paintwork, matching paint, especially on an older car, is difficult. So just keep stuff like that in mind. Now if you care about scratches, and you saw this, I’d walk away from the car, because this would be an expensive fix. Even though for this purchase I don’t mind some scratches, these are pretty bad. And speaking about scratches, here’s a really useful tip; when you’re looking at the body of the car, never inspect a wet car. Whether it’s from rain, or the car’s just been washed, water’s gonna hide scratches and dents. Now if we come around to the passenger side, there are some scratches here on the door, that have been touched-up, but they didn’t match the paint very well. And then if you’re looking at the rocker panel here, looks like there’s a hole covered by Duct Tape. Yeah, that’s a hole. And there’s a dent here. But that hole is pretty bad, and it’s gonna need some repair work. And then there’s a dent right up here at the front quarter panel, which stands out pretty good, I noticed that when I first saw the car. Even worse is this front bumper, which they really should have just left alone, looks like they tried to glue it or something. And that’s gonna be a pain to fix. So overall, the body’s just in fair condition. It’s on the edge of what I would purchase, but I think these problems will help me knock down the price, and just because this is gonna be a commuter car for the city, it’s not a deal breaker for me. Now that we’re at the front of the car, the next thing to look at are these headlights. You can see these are all hazed up, and these headlights can get expensive. But you know I have a permanent fix, which is pretty cheap, so this isn’t a big deal. Now’s also a good time to check out the glass. Look for any cracks or chips, because glass could get expensive. On this jag, it costs over 500 dollars to replace the windshield. While you’re inspecting the glass, be sure to look at different angles, because sometimes chips are hard to see. And since we’re looking at the glass, check the inspection sticker, because that’ll give you an idea if the car needs to get inspected soon. Also, if the inspection is not up to date, there could be a problem with the car, or the car has been sitting for a while. You could also check out the brake rotors to see if the car has been sitting. On this car, you can see the rotors are shiny, which means it’s been used recently, but if you see rusty rotors, that could indicate that the car has been sitting for a while. And I look for this, because cars are designed to be driven, so if they sit for a long time, they could develop problems that might not pop up on a test drive. Now that’s how you check out the body of the car, we did a great job covering everything, we have a good idea of the condition of the body of this car. So let’s go look at the next thing; the wheels and tires. So we’re gonna see how much life the tires have left; but before that, let’s make sure all four wheels and tires are the same, and not damaged. So the first thing we wanna do is make sure all four tires are the same. In the front we have BF Goodrichs, I checked the other side, and it’s the same. Now I checked the rear, and both rear tires are the same; but they’re a different brand from the front. Now this isn’t the greatest setup, but as long as the tires are all the same size, and as long as the tires in the front match, and the tires in the rear match, that’s okay. What you don’t want to see, is a different tire on each corner. Next make sure all your rims are the same. I had a friend who bought a car, and there were two of the same rim on one side, but on the other side the rims were different, and he didn’t even notice this, until I pointed it out after he bought the car. Now I don’t know about you, but these wheels do not look good on this car, at all. On top of that, these wheels have a ton of curb rash, all around the rim, and the paint is chipping off, so this right here is a big expense. The last thing to check is how much life do the tires have left, since new tires are expensive. To do this, if you have some loose change, grab a penny, and use the top of Abe Lincoln’s head, and put it in the groove of the tire. In the front, Abe Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, so there is plenty of tread left, but in the rear, you can see the top of Abe Lincoln’s head. Which means you need new tires. And if you don’t have a penny, there is a wear indicator band in the tread of the tire. So when that band is touching the edge of the tread, that means you need new tires, right away. Now these rear tires here, would be dangerous to drive on in the rain or the snow. Make sure you go ahead and check each tire, and on this car, the front tires are in good shape, but the rear tires need to be replaced. Tires are very important for safety, and they can get expensive, plus most people don’t think about checking tires on a used car. Now that we’re done looking at the wheels and tires, let’s take a look at the interior. Since the owner isn’t here to open the door for us, we’re gonna have to look through the glass, but there’ll be plenty to look at, so let’s take a look and see. So you’re looking at anything that stands out. The first thing i look at is to see if the car is an automatic or a manual. This is an automatic, which is what I’m looking for. Then take a look at the seats, and see if there are any rips or tears. These seats look like they’re in great shape, next look at the steering wheel, and see if it’s worn out. And again, this looks like it’s in good condition. Also, check out the headliner, to see if it’s sagging anywhere, and in this case it looks good in the front, and in the rear. And the rear seats and carpets look like they’re in good shape as well, except I do see a cut along the middle of the seat. So that pretty much covers the interior. Now, for the last thing we’re gonna look at, let’s check under the car. I’m starting at the front of the car, and the sub-frame looks straight, and it isn’t rusted, next I’m looking for any leaks over by the engine, and there aren’t any visible leaks. Which is good. So now we’ll go from the front of the car, to the side, and we’ll work our way around. These jags are known to have problems with rusting right under the rocker panels. So let’s see if there’s any rust underneath, and looking over here, this looks surprisingly good I actually checked out one Jaguar where I touched this, and the metal broke off in my hand. So if you have an interest in a particular car, definitely do a little research, so you know what to look for while you’re inspecting the used car. Now the other thing is, make sure you look at the frame, and that looks straight, and there’s no rust on that either. Looking towards the center of the car, everything is rust-free, and it all looks really good. Now let’s move to the rear. Under the rear, a good thing to look at is this spare tire carrier, because if the car was in a significant rear end collision, it’s really hard for body shops to unbend this metal, so there would be obvious crumples or damage to this piece of metal if it was hit hard. Looking at the exhaust, it’s rust free, which is great. The rear suspension looks really good, there’s no rust, the shocks aren’t leaking. I don’t see any oil or grease anywhere. Where the differential is, I don’t see any leaks. And looking at the other side, everything looks good there as well. So let’s quickly check out the other side, and this side looks good, with no rust, everything looks straight and solid, and the underside of this car was pretty good compared to some of the other cars I’ve been seeing. Alright, and that covers the five main areas you should look at when inspecting a used car. Hopefully the video was helpful, and if you have your own tips, leave them in the comments section below, because I’m sure there’s gonna be a ton of people looking for all the tips they can get. Stay tuned for the next video, where I show you what questions to ask when you call the owner up on the phone. I’ll also show you all the tips and trick I have, for when you take the car out for a test drive. And also, don’t forget, you can download the ChrisFix used car checklist, with the link in the description.

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100 thoughts on “How to Inspect a Used Car for Purchase

  1. Just a few bits of info for everyone who is asking in the comments section:
    1.) Those are plate covers not plates. I use them in all of my videos to protect the owner's privacy (and my own privacy). They go on with tape before I film. The real plates are under them.
    2.) This is only part 1 of the series, in part two I meet with the owner to inspect the car: https://youtu.be/9N4RpohW-hU?list=PLvKbarVtwhUv6bjLhJSyaEOxaYy03j7QS
    3.) I have a new series with buying a parts car Jaguar here: https://youtu.be/pV_BgneldPU?list=PLvKbarVtwhUv6bjLhJSyaEOxaYy03j7QS
    4.) You can follow me here for updates and other cool projects:
    Subscribe→ https://goo.gl/Yfma59
    Instagram→ https://www.instagram.com/chrisfixit
    Facebook→ https://www.facebook.com/chrisfix8

  2. Hey man I’m looking at a g37 coupe 2008 has 86k miles going for 8k on a salvage title don’t know if it’s a good deal?

  3. dude it only takes about 80 dollars to get the kit and blending paint and a cheap welder to weld back up the holes you have to drill to pop the dents because you might have to put a washing and nut on the inner panel to pop the dents or try your luck with the dent popper tool from harbor freight

  4. Thanks a lot for the insight – really appreciated! Subbed, lots of useful content to be discovered it seems 👌

  5. Never buy a European car….unless yer $$$.
    Buy a 2000 – 09 caravan or T&C or jeep. Always look for 3.3L or 3.8L v6. Up to 2009 – 10. Then fiat merged and ruined Chrysler.

  6. Sorry Chris..you started off with I never saw this car before… but your name is on the license plate🤔👎

  7. Lol he said he's never seen the car before, first time walk through with us, but he has Chris Fix plates on the car already

  8. Always have a Magnet when looking at older cars (it will stick to the body, if it's been Bondoed then it wont stick at all)

  9. Hey bud! I am twenty and I'm starting to save to buy a car, but I am interested in getting a 2002 Toyota Avalon, since I've heard a lot of people say it is quite durable and convenient. Any tips about where to buy an old car? What to look for in used cars like those? And how to get the best deal/price, please? I am new to this. Please, help. 🙁

  10. My husband and I bought a 2008!Honda ridgeljne for $7300. I love the body but didn’t really inspect the car, only my husband did and he did a test drive it. I thought everything was great since my husband agreed that the car was good. Before we bought, I didn’t know that the were some missing door handle inside, the back of the car seat was screw in, the center console didn’t work and was lose, and the windshield Fluid tank was cracked. After driving it for a month, the inner and outer axle wasn’t good, the tire rod, and the shocks wasn’t in a good condition. Also, the windshield was cracked. I regret buying this car but I’m going to fix it and do a trade in.

  11. This was a good video so I won't bust your balls too bad, but does that car you've never seen before have a Chris fix license plate…lol

  12. Rusted out frame number 1 and body number 2 that's all you should look for that's most important ,this guy is a idiot

  13. Another tip- Upon first inspection, check to see if the vehicle's rear license plate is covered with a ChrisFix logo as seen here.
    That's how you'll know the car is certified pre-owned and inspected.

  14. MORE THINGS TO CHECK
    1. Check heater core, by turning on heat. If the heater does not work it may also indicate a stuck thermostat
    2. Check oil cap, look for milky oil
    3. Check radiator cap, look for oil, look for metallic sealer
    4. Check idle rpm, high rpm could indicate several things wrong including a blown head gasket
    5. Does it shift smoothly
    6. Check radiator fans
    7. Check exhaust for white smoke, a little water in exhaust is ok
    8. Check coolant overflow for oil/ sealer however this is easy to top off so doesnt say much.
    9. Look for extra expenses you will need to pay later, for example wiper motors are $300 each. window motors are $300 as well, or tires, brakes, etc.
    10. Leave the car idling for a while, while you are talking to the owner and get out of the car with hood open and let it idle for at least 10 minutes.
    This will check the following things
    Radiator fans
    Alternator
    Battery
    If the owner is nervous while you are letting it idle or does not want you to leave the car on, this will say alot
    11. Check if codes have been cleared with a code reader
    12. Your best off buying from someone who owns and uses the car. If this is what you wan ASK and make sure if the title is in their name! Not some strange name!
    13. If they will have you come to their house to buy the car it is a good sign they trust the car wont have any issues. Else you know where they live.
    14. Never buy a car with no title it is highly likely the car is stolen.
    15. Have a mechanic check the car if you can
    16. Drive the car over 60 mph (checks alignment, steering issues, shocks,) it should drive smooth
    17. Drive the car with the a/c blasting and watch temperature for overheating
    18. Watch how the seller behaves is he confident and very knowledgable about the car, or are they nervous and try to avoid questions, trying to not talk about certain things.
    19. Do not bring cash! If you agree to purchase the car go to the bank together in w secure place to exchange cash. And drive the car home from the bank.
    20. Another safety precaution not absolutely necessary but make sure the title is in the same state as you.
    21. Check tires for uneven ware, uneven worn tires indicate alignment issues
    22. Check transmission fluid nice red clear fluid and it does not smell burnt
    23. Check brake fluid low fluid means the brakes are bad, high fluid means good breaks or it means they topped it off
    24. Check body panels and spacing lines for replaced panels or new paint. This indicates the car has been in an accident
    25. Check online reviews of the car model

  15. Another step don’t film a video on how to get a good deal on a used car when it has you’re YouTube name num er plate I don’t know if that’s edited or real

  16. Did anyone else realize the number plate on the back has chris fix on it? Its a great video tho just wondering why his name were on it.

  17. That's the most bad 5 things to look at when u buying a car, When u buy a car, u look at the oil , coolant , oil leaks, Ac an heater, Miles, test drive to feel transmission shift, OBD2 computer for any code issues , Title to match the Vin of the vehicle. The car can be super clean new paint whit new interior but if the transmission an engine has problems , There is no reason to buy a that car, Not everything the shine is gold..

  18. Here is how to inspect a car. Read the “for sale” sign, use your brain and eyes, if it makes sense call the number and get a MECHANIC to check it for you.

  19. @ChrisFix can you explain why if there’s no price that can be an issue. Wouldn’t it be worth finding out?

  20. I put a lot of faith into dealerships, if one sells me a car that breaks that isn't a normal wear item I'll never go to that dealership again and I'll even warn all the people I meet to never go there. Ever.

  21. Chris fix: this is my first time seeing this car
    Audience: but it says chris fix on the licence plate😂😂

  22. For me it's to bring a magnet. I bought a mustang and while driving home I thought my muffler was dragging. Turned out to be my fender. I'd also check out what all has to be done that should be a normal fix. For instance, my nephew's Malibu has to have the front tire removed to change the bulbs in the front headlights. My Chevy venture has the gearshift bar directly in front of it, making it difficult to put fluid in it. Never, ever trust a used car salesman!

  23. "6 main things"instead because you didn't inspect the engine..but thumps up..learnt more details to look at nxt time

  24. I love it how Chris just explains it down to the nitty gritty instead of having someone taking 20 minutes to get to the point

  25. I was inspecting a used car and took it for a test drive. Opened the door and started the car. Drove excellent!

    After spending a night in jail I realized the car wasn't for sale and I didn't even have a key!

  26. * me sitting here thankful that more than half of this sounds familiar *
    this is the first video of yours I’ve seen. I just bought a used car a month ago and we looked for at least half of this before considering the car.
    2000 VW Beetle, 151k, we got the price down to $1000 and had a budget of the same amount to work on it. We’re almost done fixing her, used only half our repair budget so far, and she’ll drive almost like new in 2 weeks and pass her first emissions test in two years (which yeah, that doesn’t look good, but she’s significantly improved from when we got her)

  27. If you were looking at this at the same time you started filming how is there your license plate thing on there

  28. You can do a quick check of the suspension by pushing down each corner then letting it back up quickly; it should bounce up and stay there – if it keeps bouncing, the shocks are probably shot.

  29. You are right about not buying wet car because wetness hides imperfections of the car's paint. I bought a wet car when it was raining, the car paint looked good when it was wet. Few days later after buying the car, the sun came out and OMG, my car's paint had too much scratches and too much paint fixes on it that were not visible at the time I bought it. The wet car hid so many paint fixes the previous owner did on the car. Never again will I buy a car that is wet.

  30. If the owner is "God damned STINKBOTTOMED" its time to look elsewhere.

    STINKBOTTOMED I'm STINKBOTTOMED, you give me a diaper full 'cause you're so wonderful.

  31. Hey bro so i found a 2002 honda civic ex coupe, and it has 100k miles and theyre asking for 1800$. Do you think thats fishy or not? Feel free to message me if you want to see pictures of it ill give you my email.

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