Purchasing a used vehicle can be a bit of a risk at times. Getting as much information about the vehicle ahead of time can make that purchase a little less risky. Using Car Fax and obtaining maintenance history can be very helpful. But if there is no maintenance history available what can be done to verify the condition of the vehicle? We recommend having the repair facility that you trust inspect that vehicle PRIOR to purchasing it.

9 Red Flags To Look For In A Used Car

We have seen to many times that a customer, even some of our own family members will purchase a vehicle, then have it inspected and have a huge list of repairs or issues with the vehicle. Even if you are set on purchasing the vehicle no matter what, knowing ahead of time what repairs or maintenance is needed on a vehicle, can prepare you to negotiate a more reasonable purchase price of the vehicle, based on estimated repair expenses needed.

A few red flags to look for are listed below:

1. Check Engine Light or Service Engine Soon Light is On
This means the vehicle cannot pass DEQ, this problem should be corrected beforepurchasing any used vehicle.

2. Dash Warning Indicators Illuminated
Examples include SRS, ABS, Battery, Oil Lights. These are warning of problems within those systems.

3. A Vehicle that has a Branded or Reconstructed Title
This means the vehicle has been damaged beyond it’s value and someone has done some type of repair to make the vehicle sellable and/or look good. If it has been totaled in a car accident the safety of the car is extremely compromised.

4. Fluids that are Unusually Dark or Smell Burnt
This is an indication of bigger problems within the internal components of the system that this fluid lubricates. This can also be an indication of lack of maintenance.

5. Brakes that Pull Left or Right, Make Noise or Lock Up
This is an indication of excess wear or improper installation or adjustment.

6. Steering that Wanders, Feels Loose or Pulls Left or Right
This can indicate worn steering and suspension parts, possible collision damage causing the alignment to be out of spec.

7. Unusual Musty Odors and or Mold Stains
This can be an indication of water leaks into the interior of the vehicle.

8. Visible Body Damage
Unseen structural damage can be hidden underneath and cannot be assessed at times without removal of the damaged panel.

9. An Engine that Cranks Slow, Runs Rough or has Unusual or Loud Noises
This can indicate many things and we would highly recommend having a professional technician check out prior to purchase.

The above listed red flags are good indicators that you should probably keep looking at other vehicles. But if you decide to proceed, it is worth the investment of a pre-purchase inspection performed by a Certified Technician at your trusted repair facility. If the seller of the vehicle is adverse to a pre-purchase inspection or says not to worry they will take care of any problems that come up or are found after the purchase, we recommend RUNNING (very fast)! Having the knowledge before the purchase can help to guide you in a informed used car purchase and help to avoid buying a money pit.

All About Automotive Offers The Best Quality Auto Repair & Auto Maintenance in Gresham

Steve and Karen Johnston are owners of All About Automotive, providing auto repair and auto maintenance in Historic Downtown Gresham. If you have questions or comments, call them at 503-465-2926 or email them at [email protected].


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