Do you know how to buy a used car? Do you know what to look for when you get to the used car lot? If you go for the shiny pretty car, you could get taken! You’ve got to really inspect the car before you buy. It isn’t enough just to glance it over, look under the hood and think the engine looks good, then jump in and drive around the block. If that’s you – the used car salesman is going to be eating an expensive meal at your expense that night.
We want you to learn the secrets that used car salesmen would rather you don’t know.
When you go to buy a used car, what’s the first thing you should look at?
Find the kind of car that you can use and want, then look at the tires.
Tires can tell you a lot about a used car. First, see if they are a matched set. Are all four tires the same? Or are they mismatched? If it has a matched set of tires on it, that’s very good.
The second thing to look at is the tire wear. How is this tread wearing? You want an even plane across your tire. The tread should be pretty much the same level and height.
One way you can tell if a tire is wearing bad:
Put the flat of your hand on the tire. Rub it up and down. There shouldn’t be anything grabbing your hand. Next go left and right. Is anything grabbing your hand, trying to hold you from moving?
When the tread wears unevenly, it will stick up higher on one side than it does on the other. If you rub your hand across one way, it will be nice and smooth. But if you come back in the other direction; the raised tread edges will catch your hand.
That tells you whether the tire is wearing even or not. Look for tread drop offs or smooth spots. If the tire is not wearing evenly, it could be signs of a bad ball joint or a bad tie rod end. Uneven tread wear is a sign of an alignment issue.
Also, look at the depth of the tread. Stick your finger down on that tread. If you can get half of your fingernail in that tread, you have a lot of tread left there.
Look at all four tires to see how each looks. Each tire tells you something different.
It is important to check the back tires too. When front tires start to wear, people will put them on the back of the vehicle. They put the better tires on the front because you steer with those tires. Now the vehicle looks like it has a good set of tires on the front. The back tires can tell you a lot about the vehicle’s alignment.
If you see the actual steel radial belts sticking out from the rubber, that’s very dangerous. It’s also very bad if you will see the rubber cupping. It indicates a serious suspension problem on the front end of that car.
Some used car places try to save themselves money by putting new tires on the front of a car. New tires can hide the problem so they don’t have to put $700 or $800 in suspension work.
So you’re on the used car lot. You come up to a car that has all four brand new tires on it. What is that telling you? What do you need to look at here? In the next video, we will go into that.
Don’t fall prey to used car dealers that try to mask suspension problems with new tires. Learn how to tell if the used car you are considering buying has issues before you sign the paperwork.
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