Inspection tips

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Updated: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm Published: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm

When purchasing a pre-owned car, it may be helpful to examine the car using an inspection checklist. Checklists may be found in magazines and books and on Internet sites that deal with used cars. It's usually a good idea to test drive the car before making a commitment to buy. Things to look for include engine noise, idle, and acceleration; ease of steering; transmission function; and brake pedal pressure and quality. In addition to the car's performance, it may also be helpful to inspect the quality of the interior. Notice headroom, legroom, the quality of the upholstery and interior panels, dashboard, carpet, and mats. On the exterior, check for evidence of body damage from an accident such as mismatched paint, body waves, and over-spray around the window seals, lights, and other trim. It may also be beneficial to check the openings of the hood, trunk, and doors. When closed, the seams should run evenly all the way around. Other important items for inspection are the tires. Look for signs of uneven wear, cracks, or cuts. If uneven wear is apparent, it could indicate an alignment or suspension problem.

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