Hidden Car Defects And How To Spot Them

We all want to be able to buy a new (or used) car and have it run flawlessly, but as any California lemon lawyer worth their salt can tell you, that’s not always the case. There are plenty of hidden defects that can plague an automobile; this article will alert you to what some of them are and how you can spot them so that you can take action and stay safe.

Secret Problems? In My Car?

It’s more likely than you think. While it would be nice if every car salesman was honest, there’s still an abundance of shady dealers out there who wouldn’t bat an eyelash at selling you something that’s less-than-reliable. Thankfully, though, there are ways that you can protect yourself, with the first being to read the window sticker on the vehicle in question. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule, dealers are required to post a Buyer’s Guide with every used car they sell, and that information is typically attached in a window sticker. It will give you some important details, like whether the car is being sold with a warranty (and what that warranty will cover) or if it’s being sold “as is,” in which case the dealer is making zero guarantees about the condition of the vehicle.

In the case of the latter, you’ll definitely want to stay on your guard, and be sure to inspect the vehicle carefully to ensure there are no major issues that could impact the car down the line.

Inspecting A Car For Problems

And just what should you be checking before purchasing a car? There are numerous, complex systems that help an automobile run, but for your pre-purchase inspection, you’ll want to concentrate on a few key areas of the exterior, interior, engine area, and underside.

On the exterior of the vehicle, the body work is going to be one of the most important elements you can assess. Check all of the paneling plus the roof of the vehicle to make certain there are no serious dents, scratches, or rust that could compromise vehicle integrity. You’ll also want to check things like the windshield (and other glass) for cracks, and the tires to assess whether or not they are worn down and in need of replacements. If you have time, test the shock absorbers as well, since you don’t want to ride around with a poor suspension system!

On the interior of the vehicle, the first thing you’ll notice is the scent. It may not seem like a big deal, but smells can give away serious problems—like mold and mildew growth, so don’t overlook it. Beyond that, though, you’ll want to make certain that everything you need to operate your vehicle is in working order. That means the pedals, instruments, controls, etc.

Finally, once you make it under the hood of the car, it will be time to assess the engine bay. Is there an excess of dirt and dust? It could be indicative of greater issues. What about corrosion on the battery? Another sign something could go awry. Be thorough here, and with all parts of the vehicle inspection, and you should be able to avoid buying a dud.