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Exterior maintenance

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Updated: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm
Inspecting the exterior of a pre-owned car is an important part of the purchasing process. It may be a wise to conduct a complete visual inspection of the car's exterior to look for various flaws. One factor that can cause future problems is rust. Since rust is a form of corrosion, it can attack the joints and spot welds that hold your vehicle together, making them weak and unsafe. Another thing to note is any evidence of collision. This could include uneven body moldings, crooked trim pieces, and re-painted areas. Checking the vehicle in a well-lit area will make these flaws more evident. If the vehicle has been in an accident, it may have frame damage that can affect the functioning of the vehicle. In addition to checking for rust and evidence of collision, you should be sure to check the alternator, battery, cooling, and electrical systems. For example, if the motor starts fine in the morning, but engine dies after a short drive, it could indicate that the alternator is not charging and needs to be re-built or replaced. If you hear a squeak or squeal that stops when you apply the brake, it could be an indication that the brakes need to be replaced. Last but not least, be sure to inspect the tires. If they show signs of uneven wear, cracks, or cuts, it could be an indication of an alignment or suspension problem.

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