There is nothing worse than getting that vehicle that you had your heart set on at your local auto auction and finding out that it doesn’t run or needs thousands of dollars worth of hidden repairs. The easiest way to avoid this is to do a pre-auction inspection. It is wise to do an inspection on several target vehicles in case you do not get the vehicle that originally interested you. Here are some basic pre-auction inspection steps that anyone can do.
Bring the Right Tools
It is important to make sure that you have everything that you need in order complete an inspection. At an auction it is a good idea to bring a notebook and pen in order to take notes about each vehicle and adjust the amount that you willing to pay accordingly. Additionally, you need to bring some small towels or paper towels in order to clean parts and your hands as needed. There are also some optional items that you may need depending on how detailed of an inspection you are able to do. This includes: a small mirror and flashlight, a magnet, and a CD/Cassette tape.
Checking the Exterior
The exterior of a vehicle can tell you much more than simply how good it looks. The easiest thing to check is whether or not there are any chips or cracks in window. Small chips are easy to fix, but giant cracks may force you to replace the windshield. You can also use a magnet to see if any potential rust has been covered by body filler or paint. You can also check out the tires to make sure that they are wearing evenly. If the wear and tear is uneven, it is possible that the suspension or alignment needs fixed. You should also press down on all four corners of the vehicle. If it bounces a lot, more than one or two times, then you may need to replace the shocks. The final check that needs to be made on the exterior is to look down both sides of the vehicle. If the panels are not evenly aligned, there is a high possibility that the vehicle has been in a wreck.
Checking Under the Hood
Almost all of the most costly repairs that need to be made to a vehicle will be under the hood. This is why it is important to check under the hood during your pre-auction inspection. The easiest thing to check for is leaks. Simply look under the car for leaking fluid. Yellow-green is coolant, black or brown is oil, and red is transmission fluid. It is also important to pull out the oil dipstick to make sure that the oil is not sludgy or gritty. It is also helpful to check the level and cleanliness of the transmission fluid and brake fluid. It is an excellent indication of how well a vehicle was taken car of by previous owners.
There are additional checks that can be done, depending on how much access you have to the vehicle before the auction. This includes checking the interior and starting the car, however this is not always possible.
Taking along a mechanic or a friend who knows a bit about cars is highly recommended.
A pre-auction inspection is critical to choosing a group of vehicles that are in good working order and will require a minimal investment post-purchase. The inspection can be very simple, yet thorough at the same time. It is surprising how much you can learn by using these simple techniques.