When buying a used vehicle from a private party, you always run the risk of purchasing a lemon, or a car that is not in good shape. This is why many people prefer to purchase certified used vehicles from dealerships. Not everyone can afford to do this, however, and some people are just interested in a safe, mechanically sound, inexpensive "beater" to get around town.  

Thankfully, when you find a vehicle you are interested in, you can have a trusted mechanic take a look at it and perform an auto inspection. This will help ensure you aren't throwing your money away. Before you schedule an appointment with a car inspector, though, do a brief check yourself first to make sure the vehicle is worthy of bringing it in for an official inspection.

Check the Tires

Tires aren't cheap. The last thing you want to do is buy a "new" used vehicle just to turn around and have to spend several dollars more on new tires. Check the tread on each tire by pushing a coin in it; the President's head should be mostly covered if the tires are in good shape. Look for uneven wear. You will also want to see if each tire is the same brand and in the same relative condition as the others.

Check the Paint

Look for any signs of bubbling in the paint. While a used car certainly can't be expected to have a pristine paint job, especially if it is older, bubbling and peeling paint can be a sign of underlying rust issues. Surface rust can be stopped, but rust that runs deeper or into the frame may be a problem. The paint can also give an indication the vehicle may have been involved in an accident if it is slightly different in color or texture that the rest of the car.

Check the Brakes

When you take the vehicle for a test drive, pay careful attention to how the brakes respond when you stop. Do you hear any grinding or high-pitched squealing noises? This would likely mean the vehicle needs new brake pads. It could also mean the rotors are warped if it has been driven too long without tending to the brakes.

You may not be able to check the most important components, such as the engine, but by checking the things you can, you can more easily narrow down the best vehicle to bring in to the mechanic for a more thorough inspection. Visit an auto inspection business, such as Oak Hollow Tire Car Care Center Inc, for more information.