Body condition. Check each body panel and the roof, looking for scratches, dents, and rust. Examine the lines of the fenders and doors. Misaligned panels or large gaps can indicate either sloppy assembly at the factory or shoddy repair.
The paint colour and finish should be the same on every body panel.If you think a dent may have been patched with body filler, put a small magnet on it; it won’t stick to an area with body filler. If other parts of the car have been repainted, there may be paint adhering to the rubber seals around the hood and trunk lid.
Minor cosmetic flaws and light scratches are no cause for concern, but rust is. Check the outer body for blistered paint or rust. Also inspect the wheel wells, the rocker panels beneath the doors, and the door bottoms. Bring a flashlight for looking inside the wheel wells for rust.Open and close each door, the hood, and the trunk.
Gently lift and let go of each door, particularly the driver’s door. If it seems loose on its hinges, the car has seen hard or long use. Inspect any rubber seal for tearing or rot.Glass.
Look carefully at the vehicle glass to make sure there are no cracks or large, pocked areas. A small stone chip may not be cause for alarm, though you should bring it up as a bargaining point in negotiations. But cracks in the windshield will worsen and lead to a costly repair.
Suspension. Walk around the car to see if it’s standing level. Bounce each corner up and down. If the shock absorbers are in good shape, the car should rebound just once; it shouldn’t keep moving up and down. Grab the top of each front tire and tug it back and forth. If you feel play in it or hear a clunking or ticking sound, the wheel bearings or suspension joints may be shot.