Look For Misaligned Panels
Walk around the car and check the doors and panels and check to see if the seams are all lined up evenly. If they are not, it is a sign that the panels have been replaced. This is normally due to a collision. If the car was in a collision, it's important to check the frame and suspension. It could also be a case of a panel rusting out and being replaced, but in order to be safe, you should have the undercarriage checked out by a mechanic to see if there is any damage to the frame or suspension.
Wear and Tear On The Tires
If the tires have uneven wear and tear, then this is a big warning signal. It means that the owner did not have the tires rotated. While this is not a major problem in and of itself, it does suggest that the owner did not do routine maintenance. They are likely to have skipped oil changes, and other tasks that can lead to expensive engine damage.
Keep An Eye On The Check Engine Light
When the car is first turned on the check engine light should illuminate briefly and then go off. If the light doesn't go on, then it's a problem. While normally you don't want to see the check engine light, you do want to see it light up when you start up the engine. If it doesn't turn on, then it might be a sign that either it was disabled intentionally because the owner didn't want to fix the issue, or perhaps the system is malfunctioning.
The check engine light is often helpful in diagnosing an emission issue. These can be costly to repair, so you want to make sure that this light comes on at startup.
Look At What's Coming Out Of The Exhaust Pipe
When the car is fist turned on you should walk to the rear and watch to see the color of the smoke coming out of the pipe. It should be colorless. White smoke is normally not a problem. It is caused by moisture. What you are seeing is steam. It is common to see this on cold mornings. If, however, the white smoke lasts longer than a few seconds, it might indicate that the head gaskets are faulty and are allowing coolant into the combustion chamber. This is a costly repair because the engine block will need to be worked on.
Blue smoke is indicative of oil burning. This is another costly repair because it requires hours of labor to correct.
Black smoke indicates that the mixture of air to oil is too oil rich. This is not a big problem because the two culprits are dirty air filters or a broken oxygen sensor. Neither of these require many hours of labor on the part of a mechanic.
For further assistance, contact a local used car dealership, such as Quebedeaux Buick GMC.