Buying a used car? Here's what to look for

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jun 08, 2017
and last updated 2019-09-11 10:19:52-04

So you pay $3500 for a used car and think you're getting a good deal.

Then you find out it's got $2000 worth of problems.

Want to avoid the money pits?

"I see a lot of people who test drive a car. The first thing they do is turn the radio on. Turn it off and listen to the car," Howard Fleischmann, owner of Community Tire Pros and Auto Repair, said.

He says using your senses during the test drive is important.

"You'll hear scraping if the brakes are getting low. You'll hear hear squealing if they are getting down to bad life," he said.

Fleischmann warns if you feel a steering wheel vibration, there's likely a problem with the front of the car.  You'll feel it in the seat if it's a problem with car's rear.

He said also use your nose.

"If you have a catalytic converter going bad, you're going to smell rotten eggs." 

And what happens when you put the key in is very important.

"When you turn your key on, all your lights need to light up. When you start it, they should all go away," he said.

If a light remains on or flickers, it's a concern.

If it doesn't light up at first, the bulb could be bad or a dishonest seller removed it to hide a problem. 

Fleischmann's biggest advice? Pay the small fee to have a trusted mechanic check out your ride before you buy.

Community Tire Pros and Auto Repair has a 54-point inspection for $20.

It includes the car's accident history and other information.