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American compact SUVBuying a used car can be an adventure. Wherever here are used cars for sale in Portland, there is a strategy you must take into account. There are many things that can go wrong, and no matter who you are buying from, there is always a trust issue. Cars are expensive investments, and dropping a fine chunk of money down on a hunk of metal can be stressful and intimidating. If you are in the market for a used car, whether to upgrade your current mode of transportation or as a purchase for a family member, there are several steps you should take before committing to a purchase.

Inspection

Inspecting the car should be the first step you take. Make sure the exterior shows no visible damage, such as dents or scratches. The hood and doors should align perfectly at the seams. If there is evidence of a fresh paint job, there could be rust hiding in various places. Make sure the tires match and are of a decent brand. They should be worn evenly and free of any bubbles or scratches. Make sure there is a spare tire that is in good condition.

After the exterior has been thoroughly examined, pop the hood and check all of the fluids. If there is anything leaking, walk away. Check oil levels and brake fluid. Brake fluid should be tea-colored, and oil should not be black or dirty looking. There should also be no corrosion around the battery or other parts.

Move onto the interior and make sure all of the functions, such as air-conditioning, heat, and stereo, work well. The upholstery should not have any damage, and all doors and windows should open easily. Check the windshield wipers and hazard lights as well.

The Test Drive

The inspection should take a little while, especially if you want to be sure everything seems to be functioning correctly. Afterward, if you are satisfied, you can move on with a test drive. During the test drive, get a good feel for the car. Make sure it does not pull to a side while driving or applying brakes. This could mean alignment problems. It should steer with no issue and should not start shaking at higher speeds. It should handle well around corners too, and, obviously, no weird noises should be coming from the engine while you are driving.

If you have checked everything, and it looks good from your perspective, you can move on with the buying process. Buying a used car can be a headache, but if you prepare properly, it can be a good experience that gets you a quality car.