At Cooper Motor Company, we want to make your car-buying process as easy as possible. We also know that for some customers it makes more sense to buy a used vehicle. To help with your search for a used car, we've assembled a list of important things to do during the process. If you have more questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

Used Car Buyer's Checklist

✔ Do Your Research Before searching, ask yourself if there is a certain type of vehicle that you need. When you know what type of vehicle you want, it’s easier to know which items you need to pay attention to when inspecting a car. Also, learn about the problems common to the models you’re interested in. It’s equally important to know about a vehicle’s drawbacks as it is to know its advantages.

✔ Exterior Checks Walk around the vehicle and take note of any scratches, dents or rust. Check that the body panels line up evenly, and that the doors, hood and trunk easily open and close. Make sure that the tires are all the same brand and in good condition (no cracks, bulges, scuffing or bad tread). Finally, check that the lights all work properly, have no cracks or damage and show no signs of moisture.

✔ Interior Checks When inspecting the interior, you should immediately notice whether there is an odor. If the car smells like mold, must or mildew, it might indicate a water leak or flood damage. Look for wear and tear on the seats and make sure they work properly. It’s a good idea to put the driver’s seat into the right position for you. Then you can sit and test the controls and instruments to see that they are functioning. Finally, examine the inside of the roof for stains or signs of water leakage near the windows or sunroof.

✔ Under the Hood When checking under the hood, inspect the belts, hoses, fluids, oil and transmission fluid. Each of these should be in the correct place or at the proper level, and there should be no cracks, leaks or water. Remember to look underneath the vehicle for signs of leakage.

✔ The Test-Drive Perhaps the most critical part of your inspection is the test-drive, which lets you see the vehicle in operation. Pay attention to how long it takes for the vehicle to start and listen for odd noises. Drive on a variety of roads, like around a city and along a short stretch of highway. This lets you see how the vehicle performs at different speeds. Check that the transmission shifts smoothly and that the brakes have good stopping power without pulling the vehicle to either side.

✔ Paperwork and Mechanic's Inspection Before closing the deal, you need to get the vehicle identification number (VIN) and run a Vehicle History Report. Most dealers will provide a report on all of their used vehicles. You should also have a trusted repair shop fully inspect the vehicle before you purchase it.

If you have any questions about what you need to do before buying a used car or would like to test-drive any used cars, please feel free to contact us or stop by Cooper Motor Company at 305 E Main St., Clinton, SC 29325. We look forward to serving our customers from Laurens and Fountain Inn.