Being in the used
car market can be scary if you are not sure what to look for. With the cost of
new vehicles being so high and the depreciation once they drive off the lot,
most shoppers search for a used car. Although
most people feel that buying a used car is the way to go, you have to make sure
the vehicle you pick is not “someone else’s problem”. You must do your homework
before you purchase a vehicle that has preexisting issues that you as the new
owner must take on. Below is a list of
what to look out for in making sure the used car you want to buy is in sound,
When you find a
vehicle that you are interested in take it for a thorough test drive. Make sure that you test the vehicle in city
driving and highway driving. Get a feel for the steering and the brakes in both
situations. Once operating the vehicle at a steady speed listen closely to see
if the engine is running smoothly. When you accelerate from a stop make sure
there is no hesitation. Make sure that you are listening carefully to any
noises that might appear. Also, make sure you do not feel any vibration in
either the steering wheel or through the seat.
Check the options in the vehicle to make sure they work. Now is the time
to make sure the wipers, radio, a/c and heat function as they should. Any
noises or other issues you feel during a test drive should be brought to the salesman’s
While test driving
the car, make time to check if it is leaking any fluids. Sear for a clean space
to park the car, leave the engine running and open the hood. Make sure the engine is clean and that there
are no signs of any fluids leaking on to the pavement. Besides the water
condensation that will drip when the a/c is running, any signs of fluid leaks
should be brought to the dealer’s attention. That would be something that needs
to be repaired.
Checking out the
interior and exterior of a vehicle can tell you how the car has been treated
during its life. You always want to make sure that the inside and outside of
the vehicle tell the same story. For example, if you find a vehicle with fairly
low miles yet the interior is fairly worn, make sure the mileage is correct. Now is also the time to open the doors, hood,
trunk etc. to look for any cosmetic repairs.
Buying a vehicle that has been is a minor accident or had paint work
should not be a deal breaker. You just want to make sure that the repairs look
like they were done by a professional. If you still see visible signs of
collision damage after a vehicle has been repaired find out why. Also make sure
you examine closely the underside of the vehicle for rust. Finding bubbling rust can only bring you more
trouble down the road if not taken care of properly.
If there is a
certain vehicle you are looking for make sure you do your homework on it. Check
to see if there are any common problems or issues with a certain model. Check
on the internet to see what problems other owners might be having. Make sure
those items are addressed on the vehicle you are looking at.
See if the vehicle
has been inspected or checked out by a mechanic. Most reputable dealers will
have the vehicle inspected to make sure that it is ready to sell. If not, try
to stop by a trusted mechanic while out on your test drive. A mechanic can help you detect if the car has
hidden or prior damages and will also help you to determine if the vehicle is worth
its asking price.
Check the glove box
to see if there are any receipts from previous service. Most reputable car dealers will offer
warranties that will extend beyond the original car coverage.
Verify that the VIN matches
all of your paper work and has not been tampered with on the vehicle. Making sure
that the paperwork all matches now can save you loads of trouble especially if
the vehicle where to turn out to be stolen.
You can also ask for
vehicle history reports (Carfax) on the car because this will enable you expose
any issues such as title problems, ownership history, previous accidents and
service points. A good car dealership will be happy to provide you with these
reports on the car you are interested in.
In order to avoid a
purchase you will regret – make sure to take the time that you need to make a
final decision but also consider some great deals won’t last for days on end.