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How to Inspect a Cheap Used Car

Getting a deal on a car is great if everything checks out. Therefore, if you decide to buy a cheap and used car, you should inspect it before you agree to purchase it. If you don't get it inspected, you could spend more on repairing the car than you did when buying the car. You don’t need to be a mechanic to perform the inspection correctly. However, many mechanics offer a service where they will look at the vehicle you are interested in buying for a price that is generally between $40 and $100 dollars. If you want to inspect the car yourself, you need a refrigerator magnet and a flashlight.

Know your vehicle’s history

Even though vehicle history report, such as CarFax, won't report everything about a car, it will tell you a lot of valuable information. For example, you will get to see if a car has ever been wrecked and how often repairs and maintenance were done.

Wheels and tires

Always look at a vehicle’s tires when inspecting a used car. If you see uneven wear, it could mean the alignment is off. Also, if the tires appear worn, new tires will soon be needed. New tires can be costly and turn a cheap used car into an expensive new car. Also, when doing your inspection, make sure the tires are all matching and that they were made by a brand that is reputable.


Use a refrigerator magnet to check for Bondo patchwork. If your magnet attaches, it could mean that the car has been in an accident. Also, that would mean the car has been in an accident. Also, make sure you do not see paint drips or runs. If you see these, it could mean that the car was cheaply repaired. Lastly, make sure you do not see rust. Rust will spread on your car and is difficult to deal with.


A beautiful, clean interior many times indicates that the car’s previous owner took care of the car. You should look for stains and tears. Smell the car for strong odor. Overall, you want to make sure the previous owner didn’t treat their car like a trash bin.

Look under the hood

There should not be paint overspray under the hood because cars do not leave the factory with overspray. Also, while under the hood, make sure the cheap used car’s bolts aren’t worn or stripped bolts. Finally, make sure the spark plugs look relatively new.

Go on a Test Drive

Check to see if the cheap used car starts quickly and smoothly. Weird noises are not normal and should cause you to be alarmed. If the vehicle is an automatic, make sure that it doesn't make clunking sounds when it shifts gears. If it is a manual, make sure you can shift the gears with ease. Don’t forget to check the brakes when you test-drive the cheap used car. The brakes shouldn’t make loud noises, and you should not feel like they are sticking. Overall, when test-driving a cheap used car, listen carefully. If something seems wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up or consult a professional.

The Five Best Cheap Cars to Buy

A cheap used car is one that is not only cheap to purchase but also affordable to own. You may be able to get a luxury car for a fraction of its original value, but it might cost you thousands of dollars in maintenance and repairs. Look at these models for a good cheap used car:

Toyota Corolla

The Corolla is the car for you if you want reliability. Corollas aren’t the most fun to drive, but they will get you where you need to go over and over again. They will last a long time.

Lexus LS400

Even the Lexus LS400 is a luxury car; it is still a reliable, cheap used car. There have been cases of people putting over a million miles on their Lexus LS400s. Its V8 engine is so reliable it is certified by the FAA has to be used in aircraft. The cabin of the LS400 is very quiet and comfortable. The first and second generations of the car, which were built between 1990 and 2000, are good ones to check out.

Honda Civic

Honda Civics are known for their reliability. Some trim levels can be somewhat fun to drive too. The eighth generation Civics, which were from 2006-2011, are the ones you should look for at the cheap used car lot. For its price, the 8th generation has the most features. The Civic is an excellent choice and will not disappoint.

Ford Crown Victoria

The Ford Crown Victoria is used by police departments and taxi companies because it is a reliable car. You can put six-figures of miles on the Crown Victoria, and the car will keep on going. These cars are also comfortable and roomy. If you look carefully, you can find a Crown Victoria in good condition for only a few thousand dollars.

Mazda Miata

Miatas are cheap and easy to work on. Additionally, they are great at maneuvering on twisty roads. They are lightweight and many people road race the car. Mazda developed the Miata to give drivers the experience of driving a classic British sports car, without the issues British sports cars have.


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