4 Reasons to Walk Away From a Used Car

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Used Cars
Choose Carefully

The used car market of today favors the buyer, heavily. With an influx of high-quality late-model used cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs in today’s market you, as a buyer, are in a very advantageous position.

There is simply no reason to settle for just any old car when you can get the car of your dreams, if you just know what to look for. Utilizing used car websites, such as BestRide.com, can help you to locate a greater number of acceptable used cars, improving your chances of success even more.

Here are 4 good reasons to walk away from a particular used car, or risk taking a knock-out punch in the wallet.

Substandard Body Repairs

Body FillerThere is nothing wrong with buying a used car that has been wrecked and repaired; providing that the repair was done correctly. Repairs performed using excessive amounts of body filler tend show signs of failure within a few years. Cracking and pitting can occur in even the highest grade fillers. Body panels which have been damaged significantly enough to require body filler that is more than a quarter inch deep should be replaced, even if it must be cut out and have a new section welded in. Substandard body repair will eventually cost someone some money. Be careful not to let it be you.

Frame Damage

wheel alignmentFrame damage can manifest itself in a variety of different ways. Often an optimistic body shop estimator will overlook the possibility of frame damage in order to get a speedy repair approval from the insurance provider, or vehicle owner. This can leave the vehicle in great condition from an appearance standpoint, yet in terrible disarray from a handling and tire wear point of view. When inspecting a prospective used car for purchase, a full pre-purchase inspection, with a four-wheel alignment check, must be performed. The only method for determining, for certain, that a vehicle does not have significant frame damage is to have the wheel alignment checked and corrected. If the alignment technician can align the wheels to within factory specifications, then there is no frame damage severe enough to be concerned with.

Flood Damage

flood damageSeveral major disasters have occurred in the U.S. in the last 25 years. These events tragically impacted millions of people and millions of automobiles, as well. Many of these vehicles are thoroughly cleaned and sold at wholesale auctions as top-quality rolling stock. Even if the carpet and padding has been replaced, the electronics in these “flood-cars” will never be the same. Any used car that you consider buying should be carefully examined for flood damage. If evidence of flood damage exists, then the title should be reclassified as such. If you purchase this automobile with a standard title, and flood damage is determined to exist later, you stand to lose a bundle.

Lack of Regular Maintenance

oil sludge

Regular preventative maintenance is vital to the longevity of any vehicle. Purchasing a used car that has never been regularly maintained is the equivalent of buying someone else’s problems. Carefully inspect the engine oil filler cap and look into the valve cover, if possible, for the presence of carbon and hardened oil residue which is caused by taking too long between oil changes. Regardless of whether or not the oil is currently clean, this debris, which clings to the sides of the block and internal engine parts, will continue to break free creating problems in the future. Automatic transmission fluid which has been neglected for more than 100,000 miles cannot be changed without the inherent risk of dire consequences. ATF should be red, never black or brown and it should not smell burnt. Regular maintenance records, which are with the vehicle or presented by the vehicle owner, are a definite plus when you are considering the purchase of a used car.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.