This is a platform for User Generated Content. G/O Media assumes no liability for content posted by Kinja users to this platform.

What warning signs have you run into while test driving a used car?

A few years back I was interested in getting a second car to replace my Camaro as my daily driver. I was looking for something more practical in all aspects, especially when trying to complete my honey-do chores. So enter the idea of getting a Chevrolet Colorado.

I spend the next few weeks looking for one with the right balance of features, mileage, and price. After seeing many well-used examples for sale by owner I decide to bump up my price point and see something nicer on a dealer’s lot. Enter this 2005 Colorado with 125k miles, automatic, 5 cyl, 2wd crew cab in bright yellow (similar truck pictured).

Illustration for article titled What warning signs have you run into while test driving a used car?

I arrive at the dealer and begin my visual inspection. Overall the body is in decent shape, but some strange things stick out on the truck. In the bed there are holes from where a bed box might have been. Had this been a work truck? The spare tire was missing. The plastic piece that covers the trailer hitch holes in the bumper has been replaced. I reach down and it easily popped off. This was because the new cover was barely hanging on to the bumper. It was hiding a beat up surface and two rust rings from missing tow ball hitches. I don’t see this little five cylinder being the best choice for towing. It’s probably been overworked. When looking into the base of the windshield from the outside of the truck, there were piles of broken glass in the defrost vent.


As I check look under the hood, it’s been cleaned and thoroughly greased up to be shiny. Which is typical for a dealer car, but in corner around the ABS module it’s packed twigs and leaves. Apparently the detailer wasn’t paid enough to clean out around the brake lines. Which leads me to wonder where this thing was spent the past few years. Much of the aluminum inside the engine compartment has white surface corrosion. I thought, “Maybe that’s typical for one of these?”.

At this point I should have walked, but I was curious to drive one since it’s the first I’ve looked at in person and I had plenty to argue the price down. The dealer lets the wife and I take it out on our own. The truck inside has a strong smell of deodorizer. After a moment we can tell it’s to cover up the smoking that was done in the vehicle. We drive it a few miles putting the truck through it’s paces. I get a feel for it’s driving and oddly enough it’s uneventful. My wife tries everything she can in the interior. She gets to the a/c and puts it on full blast. Immediately, straw blows out from all the vents in the truck. Needless to say, that was the last straw. I turned around and took the truck back to the dealer. I told them it was what I was looking for, but not this particular truck.

After testing a couple more Colorados we found that a Silverado was much better value in a truck for the money. It may have helped that there were no surprises when it came to the Silverado I ended up with. What have you run into while shopping for a vehicle?

Here’s what I ended up with.

Illustration for article titled What warning signs have you run into while test driving a used car?

Share This Story

Get our newsletter