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10 Steps to Inspect a Used Car Like an Expert

Used cars from Japan are a good option when you are on a budget. However, it can be tricky to purchase a used car as you don’t want to be scammed. Finding a good car has a lot to do with inspection and research and less with your luck.

When buying a car from Japan, you should know how to spot potential problems and ask relevant questions to avoid trouble later on. Following are ten steps to inspect used cars from Japan that should help you land a reliable car for your personal use.

1.  Do Your Research

If you want to be able to inspect a used car from Japan like an expert, it is important to do your own research first. Familiarize yourself with the car’s make, model, and specifications so you know exactly what you should expect in the car.

This will also allow you to ask relevant questions and catch the dealer if they give you the wrong information. Since you are buying a used car, check the specifications for the specific make and model you are planning to buy.

2.  Inspect The Exterior

The next thing to inspect in used cars from Japan is the exterior. Thoroughly take a look at the exterior condition of the vehicle. It would help if you made a physical inspection in daylight so that nothing goes unnoticed.

It’s important to check for rust, dents, or scratches on the roof and panels of the car. You should check that the paint color and finish appear the same on all body panels. You can try placing a small magnet to check whether a dent has been patched. If the area has a body filler, the magnet is unlikely to stick.

Check the car’s glass, suspension, lights, and tires. The condition of the tires can reveal important information. A car with less than 20,000 miles will most likely have original tires. A low-mileage car with new tires is a worrisome thing. If you find tires of different brands, ask the reason for replacement.

3.  Check The Engine

The engine condition can also tell you a lot about the vehicle. The engine oil shouldn’t be mixed with a coolant. If it has, it will appear creamy or coffee-colored. Any abnormal noises from the engine are a sign of incurring troubles later.

Before purchasing a used car from Japan, ensure there are no oil or fluid leakages. A quick drive can reveal these problems. Other things to check under the hood include hoses and belts, radiator, and battery.

When inspecting the radiator, make sure the coolant is not orange, greenish, rusty, or milky in color. If the radiator has green stains on the outside, it is reflective of leaks.

4.  Ask About The Car’s History

You should know the car’s history to make an informed decision about buying a car from Japan. Asking about the car’s history can reveal potential problems, accidents, and whether they were correctly fixed.

You should be mindful that used cars from Japan may have some problems but knowing is better than being kept in the dark about the car’s real situation. Ask for service records that show the kilometers and tenure of the car.

You can also ask for service and maintenance stickers. These are usually stuck on the sides of the window or windshield. Ensure that the odometer reading on the records compares with the one on the odometer.

5. Review The Condition of The Interior

The interior of the car is important as it directly affects comfortability. You don’t want to spend your money and end up with uncomfortable seats, odors, or a non-functioning panel. Sniff the interior for any funny or musty smells. Also, check under the floor mats for wet spots.

The next thing to check in the interior is the seats and upholstery. It should be in good condition and not ripped or worn out, especially on a low-mileage car. Make sure the seat adjustments are working properly. Next, check the rubber on the pedals. It shouldn’t be worn out on a low-mileage car.

You should also check all the instruments and controls and make sure they are in running order. Check the car’s infotainment system; if it has Bluetooth, make sure to connect and verify if it works.

6. Question About Rusty Body Parts or Accidents

A car with rusty body parts or having too many accidents can be problematic to own. Rust makes the body of the car weak over time. Check yourself or inquire about rusty body parts from the dealer.

Another thing to ask about is if the car has had accidents. A car hit from the front can have weak radiator support. Accidents also affect the car’s pillar and chassis. Look for any denting work on the radiator joints and if they are in the right place.

7. Check For Modifications

Used cars from Japan can be heavily modified. It is not as much a cause of concern, but you should be vigilant. Ask your dealer about modification parts such as raised-up suspension, bent pipes, custom exhaust, and aftermarket alloy wheels or air filters.

One thing to consider about purchasing a heavily modified car is the possibility that it has undergone rough handling, engine damage, or heavy acceleration. A cross-check, and careful judgment can help you make the right decision.

8. Take a Look Under The Vehicle

Many people can forget or don’t know to take a look under the vehicle. Check the tailpipe for signs of burnt oil. Heavy rust on the tailpipe means the vehicle will need a new exhaust system.

Some basic checks by sliding under the vehicle can reveal a lot. Take a flashlight and look for oil leaks, oil drips, or red or green fluid. It can mean costly repairs if you find the constant-velocity-joint boots are leaking grease or split.

9.  Take a Test Drive

If you can, it is best to take the car for a test drive. Driving a used car yourself before purchasing it can help reveal the condition of the suspension. If you take the car for a spin, make sure you drive it over speed breakers and potholes to check if the suspension is good and that no abnormal noises are occurring.

10. Consult Your Mechanic

Lastly, you should consult with your mechanic before finalizing the purchase. It would be best if they could take a look in person and, if not, have them on call to clear your doubts. Your mechanic can give you a detailed report on the car’s condition and help you make an informed decision.

End Word

Japanese cars are a reliable and safe option. SBT Japan has a varied inventory of used Japanese cars of different makes and models. The company has offices in various regions and a simplified purchase process.

Our widespread network, trained inspection team, and quality service standards ensure we stock the best in quality used cars from Japan to deliver worldwide. Our team ensures that the cars are inspected diligently.

We have over 20 years of experience, allowing us to build service excellence and quality standards. We ensure your car is delivered promptly once you make a booking from SBT Japan.

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