Are you thinking about buying a used Honda wheelchair van? Under the correct circumstances, that can be a great way to save thousands of dollars while acquiring a reliable and fully functional vehicle. Unfortunately, many buyers fail to check vehicles correctly and find themselves owning an inferior van that creates an endless series of headaches and hassles.
Before you buy a used Element or Odyssey, you need to know the right way to check a used vehicle.
Checking the Mechanics
Don’t let the fact that you’re not a professional mechanic prevent your from examining a used vehicle. You may not be an expert, but there are many warning signs you can find on your own. Here’s a brief rundown of what to inspect when you evaluate a used van:
- Check the oil. It should appear clear and honey brown. If the oil is well-used or low, you have reason to doubt the level of maintenance performed on the car. If you see foreign matter in the oil, it could be a sign of major issues.
- Look for signs of oil leaks around or near the engine block. This can be a sign of major problems.
- Study the exhaust system for excessive rust or holes.
- Evaluate the condition of visible belts and hoses. If the owner hasn’t repaired these inexpensive items, it could be a sign of poor maintenance habits.
- Test the safety equipment. The windshield wipers, horn, seat belts and other basics should be in great working order.
- Examine the water in the radiator (before the engine is warm). Milky or oily water can signify a blown head or a cracked engine block.
- Investigate the gauges. All instrumentation should work properly and the odometer should show no signs of tampering.
- Analyze the tires. Are the worn equally? If you see wide variations in tread depth or wear, it could be a sign of an alignment problem.
Checking the Body
In addition to being sound under the hood, you should also examine the van’s exterior for clues that may indicate problems.
Verify that all of the body’s quarter panels appear to be consistent and properly aligned. You need to know if the van has been involved in a collision.
Examine the vehicle for bubbling or developing rust. Look under the wheel wells and under the hood. Rust
Look for any signs of repaired accident damage. Check for any ripples, putty or other telltale signs that someone has done bodywork on the van.
Check under the hood and in the trunk for aftermarket welding. If you see uneven seams or anything else to suggest major repairs, you should be wary of the van’s overall condition.
Confirm that the paint appears consistent in application and color. Variations can be a sign of major repairs.
If the van looks good to you, it’s time to take the next step. You don’t want to rely exclusively on your own assessment.
Instead, you’ll want to order a vehicle history report (VHR) like those supplied by CarFax. These reports tap government, law enforcement and insurance agency information repositories to provide you with an extensive review of the van’s history and any accidents in which it may have been involved. You’ll want to review all elements of the report carefully, looking for any potential signs of trouble.
You’ll also want to let a professional mechanic examine the Honda wheelchair van. A trained expert will be able to find problems you might miss and that may not have appeared on the VHR.
If the van passes all levels of investigation, you may be on the verge of acquiring a great used wheelchair van. If you uncover warning signs, you’ll want to protect your interests by continuing your search for a quality used Honda.