When buying a used car, it’s vital to check and test drive the vehicle thoroughly to ensure you are getting the fairest price, particularly if you are buying privately. You have two options if you discover something isn’t as the owner reports: walk away from the sale or negotiate for a lower asking price, but before you can do that, you need to know what to watch out for. Below are some things you should look out for when test driving a used car. 


Interior and Exterior Body

Besides any flaws that the owner has already pointed out, check for:

  • Peeling or damage to seats and upholstery 
  • Lights, doors, windows or air-conditioning vents that aren’t functioning properly
  • Rusting or chipping on the exterior body
  • Damage on the windscreen 
  • Tires that are more worn out on one side than the other 
  • Panels that aren’t fitted properly – this can indicate a previous accident


Similarly, any disclosed faults aside, look out for:

  • Excessive blue, black or white smoke
  • Unusual noises when starting the engine
  • Engine oil dipstick should be clear and at maximum level when taken out and reinserted 
  • A thick white substance under the engine oil cap, which can indicate damage
  • Abnormalities to engine coolant and brake fluid levels 


When on a test drive, take note of these things about while steering:

  • The steering wheel should not produce any loud squealing sounds when turned, though a soft whining sound is acceptable when power steering 
  • The car should not pull to one side on an even stretch of road 


Additionally, during a test drive, make sure that the brakes:

  • Do not cause the car to slip or make any unusual sounds
  • Stop the car in a straight line

Gears (and Clutch for Manual Vehicles)

Whether the car is a manual or automatic vehicle, there are some things you need to watch out for respectively:

  • Make sure that gears do not crunch, and try them all out
  • If the clutch biting point is near the top, this may indicate that it needs replacing soon
  • For an automatic vehicle, gear changes should be smooth and almost completely silent


Watch out for these during the duration of your test drive:

  • The car should soak up bumps reasonably well – if a bump causes you to bounce out of your seat, there could be a problem
  • No unusual sounds are being emitted from anywhere in the car

Why Should You Work with Car Geeks for Car Buying and Selling Services?

Whether you are looking to sell your used car or buy one, you can bypass the hassle of doing it privately when you engage our services at Car Geeks. We handle everything from paperwork to communicating with potential buyers/sellers. That way, you can enjoy a hassle-free experience along with the most competitive prices, giving you peace of mind that you have walked away with a good deal. If you have any inquiries about our car buying and selling services, do not hesitate to contact us through our website, or call us at 954 533 4566!

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