Buying a used car? Check these spots for rust!

BMW 2 Series (M235i) 3

You’ve found it and you want it, the perfect used car. Wait a minute though; have you checked it for rust? Body and frame damage are not always evident when looking at a used car and most people are more concerned with how the engine runs, the car drives, as well as the condition of the interior and paint. However, hidden rust can put an end to your happiness, if you find it after your purchase. Rust issues can eat through the bodywork and can be expensive to repair, so it is better to find it before you purchase.

Frame and Chassis Rust

Rust tends to begin on the lower sections of a car. Look around the base of the doors (the rocker panel), and the door hinges, which get the most water penetration over the years as the car is driven. While you’re down there, check the door seams for splitting and corrosion.

The frame of a car is under constant assault from rain, road grit, ice, snow and salt. Automobiles from northern areas with long snowy wet winters are especially subject to conditions that can increase the amount of rust developing on a cars frame and chassis. A car that is riddled with rust will lower its value, so you want to be sure you find it if it is there.

If it is possible to look under the carpet, then do so. The pans in the foot wells of cars are especially subject to rust and can present a danger to passengers if unattended.

Another place where rust shows up is on the undercarriage. An excessively rusted undercarriage can weaken automobiles with unibody construction, so make sure you look under the car with a mirror, if you can’t get on the ground and look. Another option is to take the car to your mechanic so that they can put it on a rack, giving you a view of everything.

Because your exhaust system can be the victim of rust, inspect it also. Some newer cars have stainless steel exhaust systems that hold up better to the onslaught of daily driving. Exhaust systems are also expensive to replace, so you want to make sure that it is intact, with no visible rust through.

Check under the hood and inspect inside the engine compartment for rust, as well as any other metal components under the hood. Don’t forget to check the trunk. Lift the trunk mat so that you can see the corners and seams and look under the spare tire. A trunk lid that does not seal properly can allow water infiltration that can cause rust inside the trunk.

Body Surface Rust

When inspecting the body and paint, look for discoloration between body panels. This can indicate that the car has been repainted, or partly repainted which can show that there has been a problem in the past. Rust on the paint will first show up as blisters that will eventually crack, showing the rusted metal underneath. Look carefully around the wheel wells, the doorframes and around all of the windows. Rust will often show up near a window frame because water will settle around them.

Age Doesn’t Matter

More rust preventative measures are taken with newer cars that ones that are several years old, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t have rust issues. Don’t assume because it is newer that you don’t need to inspect it for rust. Not a lot of older cars had much in the way of rust prevention, unless you got one of the often-sold undercoating packages that were so prevalent several years ago. However, coatings are not permanent and need reapplications to keep the protection going; therefore, a visual inspection of the entire car is the only way to determine if there is a problem, before you purchase the car.

Be Proactive

It’s easy to be caught up in the emotion of the moment when purchasing a car, any car, whether it is new or used. Being proactive and taking measures before your purchase can save you headaches and heartache down the road, not to mention money.

About that mechanic, it is a good idea to have any used car that you are considering purchasing looked over by a mechanic that you trust. They will often see problems that are hard for you visualize through the rose-colored glasses of your desire for a new car, even though it is used.

This article was written by Diane on behalf of Krown. They offer the highest quality rust protection service available. Krown rust proofing helps save you money, while providing peace of mind, knowing you have a safer, better looking vehicle.


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