10 Used Car Warning Signs

Everyone wants a brand new vehicle, that’s the truth. Yet the budget and the reality sometimes limit our ability to pick a new car. On the bright side, there are various used cars that still work perfectly fine, and also much cheaper than a new one. So if you are shopping for a used vehicle, this is great news. With the technology nowadays, there are plenty of good deals. However, if you are not a careful buyer, there is a high chance of paying a terrible second-hand car. So what are the tips and tricks to have a good used automobile? In this list, we gather the best 10 signs to notice when buying a second hand vehicle. 

Signs of Neglect and Abuse 

The first and most significant sign of a terrible car is the obvious sign of neglect. You can see from all the dents, dings, stains and strong odors. If the car you are buying has those, this means the seller does not treat the vehicle well. To them, these signs are clearly not a big deal, and the car’s mechanical condition might be the victim as well. However, to buyers and customers, they are essential. 

Accident Damage

Accident damage is another thing to keep in mind. Even though it is totally normal to have some accident marks on the body. We cannot expect a perfect smooth and shiny used car. Nevertheless, if the car has all corners repaired, or even worse, all four corners damaged, we might be seeing a car from a reckless driver.

Check the damage on the car  (Photo Source: Pexels)

And without a doubt, that person does not care about maintenance as well. Not to mention, a car surviving a serious accident might have a lot of unexpected problems in the future. Some of the examples are uneven tire wear from a bent frame, inability to align the car wheels, and electrical gremlins. That’s why we need to see the accident records before processing any purchase. Also, car buyers should bring car mechanics along to check the quality of the car if you want to make sure.

None or Lack of Repair Records

One of the most common signs of a terrible used car is that there are no records of repairs. Lack of repair records is also a sign of a bad owner. The reason for this is that if they cannot show you the right records, you can safely assume the vehicle has not been serviced the right way. It is our recommendation for buyers to check the condition of the automobile before making any decisions. Another trick is to have the car thoroughly examined by your reliable mechanic. And on the other hand, if the car you are buying has a full detailed repair record, it is a great way of telling that this car is in good condition and well cared for. The owner of that car definitely takes repair as well as maintenance seriously. 


It is a wise decision to not buy a car from a smoker, here is why. The first reason is that smoking is reckless behaviour. The second reason is the lack of maintenance and repair of the owner. And the last reason is the stink. The smell of smoke is terrible inside the vehicle. So even if it is only a faint smell, it will haunt and drive you away. A trick that many smokers do is leave the windows open for a week before selling it. That will fade off the smell. However, this is bad for customers since the smell is always there. It never goes away and will only get worse once you roll up the windows and take it home. The worst thing is that the smell will eventually overtake all the items in your car. From clothes to fabric, bags,… everything.  

Evidence of Mechanical Band-Aids

Do not misunderstand us. It is totally ok to have a car with recent detailing. This means that the seller is wise enough to tidy up the vehicle before the sale. However, obscuring defects is a different problem. And there are many ways to hide this. For example, if the seller wants to hide the leaking oil issues, the owner can clean the engine compartment. 

Cars with High-Performance

One of the things that are not good to buy second-handed is a performance vehicle. Obviously, the creator of performance automobiles does not care about the interior. They do not want the comfort or the cabin space. All they want is to make their car as fast as possible, and therefore they just focus on building engines. Not to mention, this car used to have a lot of hardworking tasks in the past. This means there is plenty of stress on suspension, engine as well as other systems. So it is impossible to expect a performance car to have a gentle treatment in the past. 

It is crucial to remember these signs before buying a second hand vehicle (Photo Source: Pexels)

Oil and Transmission Fluid

It is a brilliant idea to check the oil/transmission fluid to see if the car you want is well maintained or not. If you cannot tell the condition of the oil, it is better to ask your car mechanic for help. The professional can surely check and judge from the color of the oil. You can even send the oil sample for analysis. Transmission fluid is usually in a better condition than oil since car owners can actually remember to change it on schedule. Otherwise, it will have a burnt odor as well as dark color.  


Coolant is another thing to notice. As we all know, every cooling system will have an overflow reservoir that is right next to the radiator. If it is possible, ask the mechanic to examine the reservoir to see if there is any debris inside. If there is any, that means the car has a lack of service. You can also check the coolant’s color to guess the repair’s schedule. 

Radio Station Presets

Radio of the car owners can say a lot about them. In fact, it tells us a lot about how the seller approaches life. If you turn on the radio and the presets shake the whole car, there is a high chance that the driver might be a big fan of speed.

Certain Bumper Stickers

The same with radio station presets, bumper stickers are also a way for customers to know more about the personality of the car owner. For example, if we have two sellers selling the same kind of car. One of them has the stickers saying: “Be slow, be safe”, while the other has the stickers saying: “YOLO”. I think the selection progress will be fast.