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May 21, 2022

Shopping for a Used Car? Let Us Help You!

So, you’ve decided to buy a secondhand car, and that’s a smart decision if you’re trying to save money. The thing is, you got to be careful and methodical. You got to go for quality, one that works for you in the long run.

You should aim for a decently performing ride whose price tag fits your budget. Be mindful not only of the price of the car but also the probable estimated costs of its maintenance, operation, warranties, gas, and customization. That’s why you need to conduct a thorough check on the vehicle before handing over your dollars to the seller.

To make sure that you don’t wind up with a used car that turns out to be a nightmare, be sure to pay attention to these eight warning signs:

  1. Telltale signs of neglect and abuse

Dents, nasty stains, scratches, and strong odors are indicators of a car owner who failed to take care of their vehicle. If they haven’t been treating the car well as shown by its appearance, chances are, its mechanical condition is just as poor and neglected.

  1. Mismatched panels or paint

Uneven panels, or paint that stands out from the rest, most likely indicate that the car has been in an accident. Keep in mind that damages — including hidden ones — due to road accidents can bring down a car’s value, which in turn can affect your resale plans.

  1. Stubborn steering gear

Buying a used car with a failing steering system isn’t only financially unwise, but it can also put your safety at risk. Here are two ways to find out if the car steering doesn’t have any issues:

  • While performing a test drive on a smooth, flat road, the steering wheel shouldn’t be shaky, nor should you find yourself making constant wheel balancing efforts throughout the ride.
  • As the car idles, turn the steering wheel left and right to check for any slack or clunking noise.

If you see the warning signs, better leave the place and find another used car seller.

  1. Faulty engine light

Malfunctioning engine light is another red flag to keep an eye on. It has to come on for a couple of seconds after you turn the key in the ignition. If it doesn’t, the seller might either be messing with it or trying to hide a certain problem from you.

  1. Bad tailpipe

While a smooth test drive is what most car buyers regard as the ultimate performance measure for a secondhand vehicle, small things like the tailpipe should be given full attention, too. It’s one car part that can provide an indirect measure of a car’s internal health.

If you see blue or gray exhaust smoke, black exhaust smoke, or milky white/gray exhaust smoke coming out, it should be a big “no” from you — unless you don’t mind spending a fortune on the car’s repairs. However, light or thin white exhaust smoke shouldn’t be something to worry about.

  • Blue or gray exhaust smoke means there’s likely an oil leak and the engine is burning oil.
  • Black exhaust smoke can appear when the vehicle is burning too much fuel. This could be caused by a clogged air filter, malfunctioning fuel injection system, a blocked manifold, or a variety of other issues.
  • A steady stream of thick white/gray exhaust smoke coming from the tailpipe could mean there’s a leaking head gasket.
  1. Manipulated odometer reading

The average mileage of a vehicle in the United States is about 14,263 miles each year, according to the latest estimate made by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. If you notice that the odometer of a car you’re looking at doesn’t match its age and appearance, then you have a reason to become dubious. The seller might have meddled with the odometer to make the car appear like it has fewer miles.

To confirm your suspicion about the car’s mileage, check for signs of wear as they imply a car that has been driven for a long time. You can also ask for the service records of the vehicle to track the maintenance work done on it, which brings us to the next warning sign.

  1. No service history

If the seller can’t give you any evidence of repairs, you have every reason to be wary. Don’t buy a car that’s only been maintained once every few years. Trust us, it’s going to be a decision you’ll regret.

Plus, a service history helps you verify that the recorded mileage is accurate. For instance, if the vehicle was serviced two years ago with 120,000 miles, but only 60,000 miles are displayed, you’re being scammed.

  1. No test driving allowed

Just like brand-new cars, used cars deserve a test drive. If the vendor is hesitant to let you take the vehicle for a test drive, even if you’re already aware of its faults, you might as well head over to another used car seller. Unless the car is being sold as a non-runner, a test drive is always necessary.


Donate Your Old Car to Support Needy Veterans in Your Area

Once you’ve settled on a secondhand car to replace your old one, consider donating the latter to us at Veteran Car Donations. We’ll give your old ride a new and worthy purpose — that of uplifting the lives of the suffering veterans and their families in your community.

We’ll auction off your donated vehicle and use the proceeds to support the life improvement programs of our veteran-focused charity partners. These IRS-certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations cater to veterans who are homeless, unable to find decent jobs, and suffering from disabilities and serious illnesses, including mental health issues.

Our charity partners use the funding we give to provide their beneficiaries with free quality health care, financial aid, housing assistance, employment opportunities, family support, educational scholarships, psychotherapy services, and many other benefits.

As our donor, you’ll be entitled to claim the maximum tax deduction in the next tax season. We’ll send you the 100% tax-deductible sales receipt of your car soon after its sale.

You’ll also benefit from our free pickup and towing service, which we will provide you wherever your vehicle is located in the country.

Aside from the material rewards in store for you as our donor, you’ll also be privileged to enjoy a most satisfying donating experience, knowing that your act of charity will help transform the lives of our nation’s heroes.

We accept almost all types of vehicles regardless of their age or condition. Head over to this page to learn what else besides cars qualify for our donation program.

For information on our quick and easy donation process or tax deductions, head over to our FAQs page. Should you have any concerns or questions, call us through our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 877-594-5822 or leave us a message here.


Make Our Hurting Heroes Smile Today!

It’s easy to leave a lasting impact on the lives of the suffering veterans in your community. Your car donation will go a long way in turning their lives around. Call Veteran Car Donations at 877-594-5822 or fill out our secure online donation form now!       

Veteran Car Donations operates in all 50 states.

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Or call (877) 594-5822!