How to Inspect a Used Car

November 23rd, 2021 by

At Miami Car Credit, we pride ourselves in selling high-quality used cars that look and operate like new. But whenever buying used, it’s good to give any car you’re considering purchasing a thorough inspection.


Body: Of course, go over the vehicle looking for dents or scratches, but the thing to pay most attention to is rust. Scratches can be painted over and dents can be straightened or buffed, but rust over time can destroy a vehicle. Check the seems in the body panel and especially the areas around the wheel well, including one the insides of the wells (use a flashlight). If the car has rust spots, it might be worth avoiding.

Glass and Lights: Check the entire windshield and all windows for scratches, chips, or cracks. Minor cracks, and even some deep chips, can always grow into major ones–And you don’t want to be paying for an expensive windshield replacement on a used car you just bought.

Tires: Check the tires to make sure there is adequate tread left. The old penny trick always helps: Place a penny (with Abraham Lincoln’s head pointed straight down) between the treads: If no part of his head is covered up, the tires are balding and you should request replacement before buying the car.


Smells: If the interior smells bad, there’s probably a reason for that, ranging from the obvious (previous owner was a smoker) to the serious (a problem with the filtration or circulation system).

Seats and upholstery: Check for rips, burns, stains, or other unpleasant interior sights. If the seller describes the condition differently than it seems to you, renegotiate or walk away.

Controls, stereo, and displays: Turn on the car and make sure all the lights on the dashboard, different displays, and stereo work. Test the dome light. If there’s something wrong, it could be an electrical problem–what might look like a small outage could be an overall issue that balloons into something much worse.


Hoses and Belts: Check to make sure rubber components like hoses and belts aren’t cracked or worn out.

Mechanical components: Check out the engine and the interior components. You’re not expected to know everything about cars, but excessive dirt or rust can be bad signs–the engine bay should be relatively clean. If you have a reliable mechanic or knowledgeable friend or family member to bring along, it may be wise to have them check the car out, particularly under the hood.


If you want a great used car from a dealer you can trust, check out the huge used car selection here at Miami Car Credit. We’re conveniently located near Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and we pride ourselves on honest, up-front sales of high-quality used cars, trucks, and SUVs.