Buying a used car can save you a ton of money. It can also lead to a host of problems if you are taking on someone else's headache-inducing problem car. Even if the previous owner swore your new car is in great shape top to bottom, you should still perform a thorough inspection to check for yourself.
Worn, damaged or defective tires can pose serious safety hazards, which is why you should look at them first. A few of the things you should look for when inspecting your tires include tread depth, air pressure and wear patterns. Be wary of tires with patches in them or bubbling on the sidewalls, they can be dangerous, especially when driving at higher speeds.
A missing headlight or turn signal indicator can quickly lead to an accident on the road. Do a quick check of your lights regularly. It only takes a couple of seconds to walk around the vehicle, but it can save you the time, hassle and cost of an accident. If you do find yourself involved in an at-fault accident, check with car accident lawyers who know how to investigate if you or the other driver is fully or partially responsible.
If you walk out to your car and there is a puddle underneath it, you'll know there is a leak. Some are less obvious, though. Pop the hood, peek underneath and run your hand along the hoses and fluid lines to see if there are any wet areas. Automotive fluids can be flammable, so you don't want them dripping on top of a hot engine. Some, like your brake fluid, can cause a serious problem if they become depleted.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to ensure safe driving conditions is to know your vehicle and how it normally feels, sounds, and operates. While you'll learn that over time, an upfront inspection can help you avoid an accident or breakdown on the road. Any problems should be addressed right away to make sure there is not a safety issue.