There are so many things to think about when buying a new car, but before focusing on the car itself, ask yourself if you’re looking for a used or new vehicle. Used cars present some of the most compelling value in today’s auto market and offer shoppers the opportunity to get into a new vehicle for less than $4,000.
Afraid that used cars may not be as reliable as their new counterparts? Don’t fret! We’ve got your back with our comprehensive guide on what to look for when shopping for used vehicles.
What kind of used car should you buy?
The first step in buying a used car is deciding what features and options you want. There are only two questions to ask yourself: “how much am I willing to spend?” and “what do I need?” Next, it’s essential to ask yourself what your driving habits are like and whether you’re looking for a small commuter or sportier vehicle that can handle long trips. For example, you’ll want a smaller, fuel-efficient vehicle if your commute is short and easy on the environment. You’ll also want to consider any features that may be important to you, such as heated seats, Bluetooth connectivity, backup cameras, navigation system, etc.
What to look for when buying a used car
When it comes to buying a used car, there’s no such thing as too much information. However, knowing what to look for when purchasing a used car can be the difference between driving home in a reliable vehicle or in a ticking time bomb. So let’s review some of the key areas you want to examine before signing on the dotted line!
A professional inspection is a must. Before you even start shopping, make sure you have inspected the vehicle by a certified technician who will take it for a test drive and perform an extensive visual evaluation, including checking everything from body panels and bumpers to lights and windows. You’ll want to head off any surprises and save yourself a ton of money on repairs later.
Always ask about repairs and maintenance records. It’s also a brilliant idea to ask the seller about any maintenance issues, so you know what to expect. If the vehicle has had an engine or transmission problem recently, that may affect its reliability and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’ve seen those “check engine” lights on the dash of newer cars before. Those usually come on due to costly malfunctions, so it’s best to do a little research before making a purchase.
It’s essential to check vehicles for odometer rollbacks. When a vehicle is returned to the dealership, it’s common to reset the odometer reading to indicate better gas mileage and lower overall miles. If this situation looks suspicious, you may want to ask for proof that the vehicle has had fewer miles on it.
Check that all your safety features work. Check every single feature of the car and make sure it works appropriately, including steering, brakes, turn signals, headlights, and locks. Also, check how well they work using your key fob (if applicable).
Always ask about accident history. You should be especially cautious if the car has been in any accidents or needs extensive repairs. It’s best to ask about accidents directly, but you should also check carfax.com to learn more about the car’s history.
What are potential red flags?
Now that you know what to look for when buying a used vehicle, it’s essential to recognize the warning signs that indicate trouble ahead! For example, if someone wants to sell you a high-end vehicle for cheap, you should consider why they are selling it. Does the vehicle have problems, or is it part of a divorce? You may also want to watch out for mechanical issues because that could indicate more significant problems down the road.
How to buy a used car
When you decide on a vehicle, make sure you get it inspected by a certified mechanic. While this isn’t always the most exciting part of buying a used car, it’s also one of the most important. Your mechanic can evaluate if any mechanical issues might arise in the future and has the experience to help you evaluate why these issues may exist. You can get your car checked out by an independent mechanic (like Lou Bachrodt Chevrolet Buick GMC) or your local dealership.
You may also want to consider a certified vehicle history report. When it comes to used cars, a carfax report can determine a vehicle’s value to you and can help you avoid specific models that have been recalled for safety issues. In addition, a carfax report will provide important information, including whether the car was ever in an accident, what repairs were done on the vehicle, and whether the odometer has been tampered with. It’s not uncommon for odometers to be tampered with, so you must investigate this information before making your decision.
What will it cost?
In addition, to purchase price, there are other considerations when buying a used car, including fees and taxes, and maintenance costs. A used vehicle with low mileage will typically cost more than one with higher mileage. In addition, a car’s value decreases over time, so you’ll want to make sure the vehicle is in good physical condition.
Doing your research can help you find great deals, but it’s also important to know that there are no guarantees in this process. Buying a used car is, by its nature, risky, and that’s why it pays to do the necessary prep work in advance! As always, we’re here with you every step of the way by providing friendly and knowledgeable staff who can help you find your next best ride!
As long as the seller stays on top of maintenance issues, there’s no reason to worry about buying a used car. On the other hand, if the seller lets something slip through their hands, you have every right to walk away at that point. It pays to do your homework, so talk to a dealer or mechanic if you have any doubts about the vehicle or its history.