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used-car-lot-320There are approximately 250 million used cars on American roads. Each year, about 40 million used cars are purchased by consumers looking for a “new” automobile. For many consumers, the price of a brand new vehicle is just too cost-prohibitive, so many shop used car lots and used car publications, searching for the vehicle – and price – which is right for them.

However, one of the problems with purchasing a used car is that you do not really know where it has been or what its history is. Even used car reports, which many dealers offer or consumers can purchase themselves, do not always reveal the vehicle’s entire history. And even more troubling, recent reports reveal that many owners of recalled vehicles fail to have the repairs made. That is why it is critical to take certain steps when shopping for a vehicle in order to make sure you are getting a safe one.

When you do find a potential vehicle to purchase, you should ideally have your own mechanic inspect it for any mechanical problems and to ensure the vehicle has not been in a prior car accident. Unfortunately, that is not always possible, so conducting a good, visual inspection yourself may uncover issues.

Really inspecting the exterior of a vehicle can reveal any prior body damage if you know what to look for. Signs of body damage which could have been caused by an auto accident include dents, rust, and scratches. Check to make sure that all the body panels line up and that there is no difference in the paint color of the vehicle. If you suspect that there may have been body filler used in an area, place a small magnet on that area. Magnets will not adhere to body filler.

Every vehicle eventually ends up with some scratches and dings, but rust on a vehicle can cause major problems which can eventually lead to a serious accident. Areas that should really have a thorough going over include the panels under the door, as well as the door bottoms, and also the vehicle’s wheel wells.

It is also important to check out the vehicle’s suspension to make sure that there are no issues there. Pushing each corner of the vehicle up and down will reveal any problems with its shock absorbers. To check out the wheel bearings and suspension joints, tug on each front tire back and forth. If you hear any kind of clicking noise, or the tug feels loose, there could be dangerous problems that need to be addressed.

Another overlooked area in used cars is the tires. Make sure that all four tires are the same and exhibit the same amount of tread on them. If the tires have been replaced, make sure they are not used ones.  The age of a tire is found by looking at its identification number, which is found on the whitewall of the tire. Tires which were manufactured after 2006 have their identification numbers located facing out on the sidewall. To determine what year your tire was made, look at the last four digits. The first two digits are the week the tire was made; the last two are the year.

Despite how safety conscious we may be, many other drivers on the road are not and this leads to numerous car accidents and accident injuries. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the driver who caused the accident.

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