Don't Forget to Look Inside That Used Car
March 25, 2011
Purchasing a used vehicle is never a decision that is made lightly—or at least, it shouldn't be. If you are the consumer and you are considering such a major investment, there is no test, no inspection, no question too foolish; the customer is always right, and the seller of the car should respect whatever kind of scrutiny or investigation you choose to employ in making an informed, responsible decision.
This includes even some avenues of investigation that might not immediately come to mind. Believe it or not, inspecting the interior of a vehicle is one of the best ways to gauge the kind of shape it's in, and how well it has been maintained. Of course, most potential buyers are going to look at the inside of the car to make sure that it is comfortable and in relatively good shape, but taking a closer inspection might reveal more about the car than you would think—and it could be a key factor in your decision about buying the vehicle.
Actually, one of the best ways to detect how well a car has been cared for is to look at the seats. See if there are visible signs of cracking, tearing, or simply being worn; this is a great indicator of how well the previous owner of the vehicle cared for the vehicle, and that level of care (or lack thereof!) will likely be reflected in all the other parts of the car, as well.
The interior of the car is also a place where you come across some important features that too often go overlooked. For instance, do you think the average buyer, when inspecting a vehicle, pays close attention to the seatbelts? Frequently, these will be skipped right over in favor of a check of the tires, a look under the hood, and so forth, but ensuring that each and every seatbelt—not just the driver's!—works well is crucial, to say nothing of another good way to evaluate the level of care the automobile has seen.
Another thing to consider: Excessive use of an air freshener. In fact, it is recommended that, before you test drive a car, take the air freshener out of it and see if any odors arise after a period of time has passed. Often, a seller who is reliant on air fresheners is trying to mask an unpleasant smell that you may never be able to get rid of. But don't let a false sense of propriety keep you from properly investigating the car's quality. If you need to, get down and sniff the seats, making sure that no odors have set in!
These may seem like "minor" concerns when compared to some of the more obvious points of vehicle inspection, and in some ways perhaps they are; even so, they remain good ways to get a feel for how well the car has been maintained, and a good way to ward off any unpleasant surprises in the future. Checking the inside of your used vehicle might end up being the smartest thing you ever did.
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