In checking your car I’m not referring to whether it is locked and the windows are down, I mean all sorts of checks
Right Insurer Checks
You can look up a vehicle’s history on several sites on the internet, using either the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) or the US license plate and the state. After you have found your car’s history (which may involve a small fee depending on who you chose) you can generally choose which plan you wish to subscribe to.
There is a choice between an easy scan and in-depth analysis, including finding out if the car has been involved in an accident, been reported lost or stolen and so on.
These types of organization use government offices and law enforcement agencies (not just state police but also national police etc.) as well as service and repair garage registries. Many of the American check websites will also work for Canadian cars.
When buying a car you want to run the same checks as above plus check the price against the average for that specific vehicle in your state. Websites like Truecar.com will compare your car against the same make, model, year that have sold in your area recently.
You can also obtain reviews of what it feels like to drive that car, though nothing replaces a personal test drive. After all, you need to think about leg room, head room, visibility, and comfort. Only checking it yourself will determine if the vehicle is right for you. (If you have a child make sure that “back seat” actually fits your child’s car seat.)
It seems ludicrous to look at new cars in the dark but if you work during the day you may have been left with little choice. The only solution to this would be to bring a flashlight with you and make your inspection as thorough as it can be. Bringing someone else with you who can also check (or getting them to see the car in the daytime, though not necessarily buying the car for you) may also be recommended, though it could be a way to fall out with friends, LOL.
What’s easier and better than doing all this yourself? Buying a pre-purchase inspection from an independent source like our sponsor, TireKickers.biz. They will use a trained mechanic to inspect the car mechanically, test drive it, and run the history for you, then provide a report that interprets all this and establishes an evidence-based value using Kelly Blue Book. Without that can you really know that you’re paying the right price or buying a safe vehicle?
Glove Box Checks
Items you should keep in your glove box (or somewhere easy to find in your car) include; proof of insurance and your vehicle registration. It’s also a good idea to keep emergency medication such as a backup inhaler or EpiPen. Bandaids, sunglasses or sunscreen, tire pressure gauge, a bandanna, small emergency kit, small grooming kit, gum or mints, and if you’re really in our tribe…ninja throwing stars!
Another reason to check your car is when you are going on a long journey in which case phrases like “anti-freeze and coolants,” “dipstick and locking wheel nut” are referred to, which may be difficult for the driver who isn’t that aware of equipment or technology to know what items are being talked about.
Here’s a link to pre-trip check page on our site, but read on below for some basics:
Coolant is designed to keep your car from over-heating while anti-freeze stops the window washing fluid and other liquids from freezing in cold weather.
No, a locking wheel nut isn’t a slam against your ability to drive (that’s a loose nut behind the wheel), it’s actually on the tire, more specifically it is used to lock and unlock the hubs.
A dip stick (also not an insult) is used to check oil quality in the vehicle and is one of the many things that need to be examined before going on long journeys, as indeed are having coolant (depending on the temperature) and having a locking wheel nut.
Though being paranoid is not a good as a lifestyle, making sure that you are covered and you aren’t being ripped off is a good thing. Really, is making every precaution against breaking down paranoid or just best practice? Even if you resist being overly regimented in life this is one of those areas where a little extra effort can save you from saying, “If only…”