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A used Ford Focus

How to Examine the Underside of a Used Vehicle to Know if it’s a Worthy Buy

Everyone knows how crucial it is to check a used vehicle before buying it – it’s a given and a standard. But what do you usually check for when you do a vehicle inspection? Of course, most buyers would often check the usual things – how the car looks from the inside and how it looks from the outside,  and some buyers also look at the engine to ensure that everything is in good working condition and there aren’t any issues to speak of. But most buyers neglect to inspect the underside of a vehicle – this is where some major problems can crop up, and what may seem like a good buy turns out to be a lemon in the end! So how do you check and determine if the car you are interested in is in good shape? Here’s how to examine the underside of a used vehicle to know if it’s a worthy buy. 

The first issue to look for 

The first issue you need to look for is puddles of oil, gasoline, transmission fluid, or coolant, according to used car Utah professionals like YoungAutomotive.com. Find out where the vehicle is regularly parked and carefully inspect it. If there is clear water dripping from the vehicle on a hot day, there’s no need to worry, as there’s a big chance that it is just condensed water from the AC. 

  • Underneath the vehicle 

If the car is high enough for you to slide underneath, you may be able to do some basic checks (alternatively, you can hire a technician to do a check for you). When you are underneath the vehicle, turn on a flashlight and look under the car’s engine. If there are some leaks or drips of oil, or if there is red or green fluid on the ground beneath the vehicle or the engine, it needs to be checked further. 

Make sure to check the structural elements – if there are dents or kinks on the fuel tank or floor pan of the vehicle, it could indicate an accident in the past. If there is some sign of welding done on the frame, they might have replaced a section or cut it to do some work. A fresh undercoat may be there to hide some recent repairs. 

  • The vehicle’s tailpipe 

You should also feel the vehicle’s tailpipe for any residue – if the residue, for example, is greasy and black, it could indicate burnt oil. If there are smudges on the tailpipe, it should be dark charcoal in color and dry. Rusting is a relatively normal occurrence, but heavy rusting may mean the car requires a new system for the exhaust. 

Have it inspected by the professionals 

If you’ve done the above but are not quite sure yet, you could always have it checked by a repair shop that regularly does diagnostics. The dealership shouldn’t have a problem lending the car to you, so you can do a thorough inspection as long as you leave proper identification. It can cost between $150 to $200 for a complete diagnosis, and ask the technician or mechanic to provide you with a report that details all the issues they have found if any. You can then use this to negotiate a better price with the dealer or seller. 

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