When you get ready to buy a new or used car, there are many things to consider – rightfully so! If you’re going to invest your hard-earned money on your down payment and monthly installments, you’ll want to know that your vehicle will last a long time! When you find a car you like, it’s very important to perform a pre-purchase audit – especially on used cars in Atlanta.

What Is a Pre-Purchase Audit?

An audit (of any kind) requires that you inspect the object or infrastructure in question with a fine-tooth comb. Used cars must also be audited to make sure that they are in good enough condition to sell to the next family. While dealerships should be making their own effort to sell vehicles in working condition, buyers also need to be aware of all warning signs associated with the purchase of a used car.

Know the Red Flags

Rust on the body of a car indicates that there has been repeated exposure of unpainted metal to the elements. Unfortunately, rust corrodes metal and weakens it; furthermore, rust damage can extend out of sight, underneath paint that can hide the true nature of the problem. If you see rust on a used vehicle, investigate how far the issue has spread.

Frame Damage
Bent, rusted, pitted, or otherwise damaged framework for a vehicle can indicate that the used car has been in a bad crash or accident. A damaged frame can lead to other problems, like steering trouble and improper wheel alignment. Here at Cars@Wholesale, we recommend against purchasing any used car with significant frame damage.

Sloppy Welds
Welding is a common tool used to fix problematic joints, cracks, and connections between parts. Welding itself isn’t a red flag; the issue is when the problem was sloppily fixed with improper technique. Unfortunately, sloppy welding can also lead to future problems with your used vehicle. If you notice an improper weld, point it out to the dealer and see what they can do to repair the issue.

Glass Cracks
Some dealerships will attempt to let a small glass crack slide. While a small imperfection in the windshield or window might not be a big deal now, it can expand and become a completely shattered pane of glass at the wrong moment. A compromised glass component on a used car should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

Paint Imperfections
Bodywork is used to repair damage from rust or impacts on a used vehicle. Sometimes, pieces of metal are welded to the original vehicle, then painted over. You can sometimes tell if a used car was properly fixed by looking at the paint. Dealerships usually keep the correct paint on hand for touchups and bodywork. Just because you see mismatched paint, doesn’t mean that the repair was done incorrectly; however, it can be a red flag that warrants further inspection and questions.

Water Damage
Just like with a home, water damage within a car is a sign of something more serious. If you notice a basement-like smell or can see mildew in your potential vehicle, start looking at another used car! Water damage severely lowers the value of vehicles.

Hanging or Dangling Parts
Everything should be securely fastened to the underside of your potential vehicle. If you see any hanging or dangling, unsecured parts underneath your vehicle, point it out to your dealer.

Old or Damaged Belts
Never leave the lot with a used car that you have not inspected underneath the hood. Inspect the interior components before and after you start the car and let it run. Listen to the engine – this can be a good indication of the used car’s condition. If there is an interior belt in bad condition, take the opportunity to ask for repairs – replacing broken belts can be costly.

Strange Noises or Smells
As mentioned above, take note of any strange noises like pops, clicking, or screeching. If you smell anything abnormal while the car is running, this could be an indication that there is a problem with electrical components or other lines and hoses.

The Car Pulls Left or Right
This is often an indication that there is a problem with the steering in your potential car. If the car pulls to the left or right while driving, you should request that the dealer perform an alignment. If the alignment doesn’t correct the problem, there may be an underlying frame or steering issue and you should avoid the car.

Cars@Wholesale: Used Cars You Can Rely On

Here at Cars@Wholesale, we know what a decent used car should look like, sound like, and smell like. We bring only acceptable cars that we would sell to our own family members onto our lot. For more information about our used car in Atlanta and other news related to used cars, check out our blog.