If you can’t afford to buy a new car, don’t want to go to the trouble of leasing, or simply want a car that’s known to be reliable, you are up to the task of buying a used car. Don’t be thwarted by the stereotype of the used car salesman or the amount of questions you’ll have to ask to get a full scope of the car’s worth. Buying a used car could be a great move if you know what to look for.
Use Your Instincts
Much like test taking, your instincts can lead you. If you test drive a used car and have a bad feeling about the drive, the feel, the sound, or even the smell, it’s best that you go with your gut feeling and pass. If the problems you see, or feel are not major, you can use those details to negotiate the price.
Get a Report
Make sure that you have a detailed history of the car you are buying that includes previous owners, previous repairs, accident history if any, and its previous servicing’s. Every car’s VIN number will provide its history. This will give you a general idea of how the car runs, and if there has had to be any major repairs. It also gives you insight into how well taken care of the car was by previous owners.
Have Your Prospective Car Inspected
Always have the car inspected before you buy it, as a vehicle’s report may not be up to date or include all of its history. Exercise caution when using a mechanic in-house as you might not get an as comprehensive report. It’s best to use your own mechanic or get more than one opinion when it comes to the mechanical inspection.
Don’t Forget Aesthetics
There are some aesthetic parts of a vehicle that matter more than others. Tires and paint should be your main aesthetic concerns when inspecting a used car for purchase. Make sure that tires are the same make and model and are aligned.
There could be minor aesthetics that won’t be a deal breaker, like minimal scratches and dents, but some could be indicators of severe accidents the car has been in. Large spots of rust should be a red flag for water damage. Check to make sure that the trunk and each door works properly.
One of the most important and costly aspects of a vehicle are its fluids. Be sure to check all fluid levels when you inspect the interior of the vehicle, especially the transmission fluid. Check all the electronic parts of the car as well, which include windows, air conditioning, stereo, seat adjustments and locks. Obviously be aware of any tears or stains on the upholstery.
Do Your Homework
Before you impulsively buy a car, make sure that you are aware of all the most important aspects when signing papers and driving away. You don’t want a lemon, and unless you have an auto detailing certification, you won’t want to do all the work yourself. Knowledge is power.