Check the Vehicle History Report
Get yourself a vehicle history report for the car you're interested in buying. If the report is negative, you should not go any further with this car.
You can access vehicle history reports by the vehicle identification number (VIN) and even by license plate. VinAudit.com provides an inexpensive instant car history reports for second-hand cars in the United States.
These VinAudit Vehicle Reports can reveal vital specifics of the used car, including whether it has a salvage title, which means it has been declared a total loss by the insurance company, or if the odometer has been rolled back.
Checking the exterior
Ensure that the car is on level ground before checking it out.Check carefully the paint job of the car, paying attention to any rust spots, dents or scratches.
Check the trunk of the car to be sure it is still in fine shape.
Check the wheels.
Never get a frame damaged car. If you can, try to get underneath the car when it is securely raised and examine the exhaust system or any under-body rust.
Checking under the hood
Check under the hood of the car for any indication of dents, damage or rust.
Check the hoses and belts.
Inspect the engine for any type of leaks, or corrosion.
Remove the oil filler cap.
Pull the transmission dipstick; the fluid should be pink or red.
Check the timing belt.
Checking the interior
Go inside the car.
Check to make certain the air-conditioning of the car is working well by switching it on.Look at the odometer of the car for the mileage.
For a car that has an on board computer, take notice of the warnings right when you start the car or once you turn the key or the start button.
Check the lights and all the standard features of the car when not moving.
Testing-Driving the Car
Test drive the car prior to making any final decisions.
Be sure to look into the brakes of the car by pressing down hard enough on the brakes to decelerate rapidly, but not enough to slide.Pay attention to sounds, trepidation or clunking noise when making a 90 degrees turn.
Reaching your decision
Investigate the car's service history which should give you some information about the performances, repairs, and problems of the car.
Bring somebody who knows cars.
Do not pay sticker price, make a deal.