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Rust

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Updated: 3/28/2003 1:53 pm
As a prospective buyer of a pre-owned vehicle, you'll want to protect yourself by giving the car a thorough inspection for any possible faults or damage. This inspection should be done properly by an independent mechanic. The money you may have to pay for such an inspection may be just a fraction of the costs to you that a faulty or damaged vehicle may incur in the future. Rust can be a particularly costly and difficult thing to remedy once it's gained a foothold on a vehicle. When you're checking a used car, pay particular attention to any areas that may show evidence of bodywork. You can use a small magnet to check for any use of fiberglass body filler around the car. Vehicles differ greatly in how they rust, but common danger areas include wheel wells, inside the doors, trunk, and hood, or around lights and other body fixtures. If you notice any blisters in the paintwork, this may be an indication that the metal underneath is beginning to rust. The seller may not agree with your scraping the paintwork, but you should be particularly observant if you find any indication of corrosion. Rust can also affect important components underneath the car, for example brake lines and parts of the steering system. Check carefully underneath the vehicle, paying close attention to any obviously rusty areas. Use a rag to remove any surface grease or dirt to make inspecting the bodywork and undercarriage of the car easier. If the car has been treated underneath with an anti-rust coating, be sure and check for work or damaged areas where rust could gain a foothold. Once a car has begun to rust, you can expect the corrosion to worsen unless prompt and sometimes costly action is taken to repair the damage.

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