What to consider when buying a used car is an important question. You can’t just go out and buy the first one you see, even if it looks good. There are many things you need to check on when buying a previously owned vehicle.
When checking for these things, remember that some problems may not be immediately obvious, so it might help if you bring along somebody knowledgeable about vehicles.
Here is a list of what you need to look for before you buy a used car.
- The engine – Is there any oil under the car? If there is no oil under the car, this could indicate either a problem with the engine or somebody has been doing illegal oil changes, which wastes lots of money in the long run. Under the car, you should check for other things such as oil leaks and make sure all engine accessories (such as belts, hoses, etc.) are in proper working order.
- The way the car drives – Look up and down at other vehicles on different roads and highways during your drive home to see how it handles/drives; if there is any problem, then this will show up during your test drive. Also, check around corners for fishtailing or other issues like that; if the dealer doesn’t let you do a thorough road test, look elsewhere. Make sure it doesn’t pull to either side while driving (signs of alignment problems) or have any funny smells emanating from under the hood – these are also signs of potential problems.
- The body – Check dents and scrapes on the outside and rust on the bottom of the vehicle since this indicates that there are other serious problems underneath. You can determine how much rust has set in by taking a magnet and testing around panels. If it sticks to any metal parts, there is rust present; otherwise, you’ll know it’s just surface rust which isn’t too bad. Make sure all lights work properly, including turn signals, brake lights, etc. Also, see if bumpers are straight or crooked along with any damaged door/window frames.
- The interior – Check the inside for any signs of rust or cracks in the plastic, cracking leather seats, etc. Also, look at the radio to make sure it works properly because if it doesn’t work, you may have to buy one. Look for any strange odours coming from the ventilation system as this could mean mould/mildew is present; if so, there’s a high chance that something else is wrong underneath the carpeting and will cost you money in repairs.
- Make sure all knobs and buttons on the dashboard work precisely – one problem with this is if your driver side window won’t go down, then this means that your passenger windows won’t go down either – a problem easily fixed with a new door control. Also, make sure the air-conditioning unit doesn’t blow warm air instead of cold air; if it does, you will have to replace the Freon for it to cool properly again. Make sure all interior lights work as well as the horn and wipers etc.
It’s generally a good idea to take your used car to one of your local repair shops and have them check it out. If they tell you that any certain part needs replacing, then don’t buy that vehicle because this is a sign that other problems are hiding under the surface.
If possible, search around the Internet about those specific problems before going so you’ll know what’s involved in the repairs. This will help decide if it’s worth fixing or not. Make sure you get a CarFax report on the vehicle to see if there are any records of accidents with that car; sometimes, people forget to note problems on their insurance policy, and this information may help avoid more serious expenses later on down the road.
While buying a used car can be a great way to save some extra cash, always keep in mind that you’re not going to get a completely brand-new vehicle for half of the price. There will always be certain problems with it, and there’s no 100% guarantee you’ll walk away from it after purchase without any issues. Just make sure those issues are as little as possible, and you should be good to go!