Adult man checking his car for scratches and dents

3 Ways You Can Self-Inspect Your Car

Cars are complicated machines. They’re among the many marvels of modern engineering, and unless you’ve studied or worked in the automobile industry, it’s likely something you’re not very familiar with. Sure, you may know how to drive that automobile or even change a flat tire, but things such as engine trouble or exhaust failure can be more difficult to fix.

That is why self-inspection is important — it allows you to diagnose the smaller problems that can indicate that a bigger issue is on the way. Whether you’re looking at used pickup trucks for sale or getting a pre-owned car for your loved one, self-inspecting a vehicle is easier than you’d think, as long as you pay enough attention to the things or areas that matter.

Here are some of them:

1. The pedals and the steering wheel

Worn out parts are among the biggest reasons vehicles fail. It’s an inevitable fact of a vehicle’s life: the more it’s used, the more its components are susceptible to wear and tear and a breakdown. Some areas where you can spot problems like these before they grow out of hand is your car’s steering wheel, as well as the pedals.

Since they often interact with the majority of the moving parts of the vehicle, any stiffness, vibration, or unnatural shifts in the movement can be a big indicator that something in the vehicle or its components need repair or replacement. These can be parts that are critical to the operation of the vehicle, such as the clutch for your brakes or a transmission system that doesn’t shift well anymore.

2. The body and undercarriage

No one likes the idea of driving a scuffed car. Our vehicles are as much of a statement about ourselves as our clothes, so aside from performing at its best, we want our car to look its best. But don’t think that inspecting your car for dents or scratches is only good for aesthetic reasons.

Giving your car a regular check for dents and scratches, especially the undercarriage, can give you hints on areas that might need repair soon. There are small signs that you can miss, for example, if your vehicle has recently been subject to flooding and needs to be maintained. Self-inspecting for small leaks, scratches, or odors around a car’s body and undercarriage can be the key to preventing serious engine trouble in the future.

3. The dashboard

man wiping car dashboard

Finally, your car actually has a reliable way of telling you that something’s wrong: the display on your dashboard. Vehicles will often come with several indicators that will light up if the car detects that something is wrong. If you ever see one of them in your own car or the used vehicle that you are going to buy, consult a mechanic immediately. The Check Engine Light, for example, may be easy to ignore, but it’s something you should pay attention to.

This is important because these indicator lights only respond to serious issues, such as engine trouble. Sure, you can go under the hood and check for yourself, but it’s highly unlikely that you can tell what’s wrong with your engine at a single glance.

Whether you are buying a car or looking to maintain your existing vehicle, it’s important to know the common signs of problems and determine when to call a professional.