Wednesday, April 10, 2024

What To Look At When Buying A Used Car

Don't Miss

What To Look For Outside The Car

What to look for when buying a used car – Which? guide

The cost of a pre-purchase inspection is minimal as wellon average, its about $100. Paying for that and a vehicle history report can be a bargain, especially considering the headaches and money these small investments could save you . Still, before spending any money, you can spot some basic issues on your own to tell whether a used car’s condition merits moving forward or not.

On the outside of the car, you’ll primarily want to look at the tires, paint job, and general condition of the car. For the tires, check that they’re the same brand and are worn equally. You can identify a “feathered” tire by looking at or feeling one of its sides to see if the tread is much more pronounced. This is a sign of misalignment, which is typically an inexpensive fix.

On the body of the car, look for any dents or scratches. On their own, these are more eyesores than huge problems, but they may be indicative of more serious trauma the car has sufferedlike an accident. Pay attention to any visible rust or corrosion. A small spot here or there may be okay, but large patches should be a deal-breaker.

On flat ground, check for frame damage by looking down at the car to make sure its doors, fenders, and lines are even. Check the vehicle’s trunk and all the doors. Make sure they not only work correctly but also that they display no signs of rust. Does a musty smell hit you when you open any of them? If so, this could be a sign of water damage.

Choosing The Right Car

Make sure you know what you are looking for when it comes to features, specifications and the kind of car you wish to buy. Try to buy newer models if possible. Remember that the prices of new cars tend to plateau after three years of purchase. And never purchase cars that have been discontinued. Trust us when we say it is not worth the trouble.

Know What Youre Buying

Check the Cars HistoryReports from Carfax or another reputable agency can reveal a cars accident history and whether it has been serviced regularly.

Walk Around the CarVisually inspect the car on a dry, sunny day to better see imperfections and potential problems. Eyeball the underside for rust, fluid leaks, and signs of collision repair. Turn every knob and press every switch to make sure everything works as it should. If you smell mildew, the car may have been in a flood or there may be a leak somewhere, which could mean unseen water damage.

Take a Test DriveBefore you even start driving, make sure the car is sized appropriately to meet your needs, that the seats are comfortable, and that its controls wont drive you crazy. While driving, look for visible exhaust smoke, feel for abnormal vibrations, and smell for burning fluids. After driving, check under the car for oily leaks, keeping in mind that if the air conditioning is on, there will be a puddle of clean water under the car.

Get a Mechanical InspectionThis advice is so important that we think its worth repeating: If you can, have the car inspected by your mechanic or, in a pinch, a friend skilled at auto repair. Unless the car is covered by a warranty or service contract, any problems it has are yours once you drive it home.

Don’t Miss: What Size Subwoofer Do I Need For My Car

Find The One With Comprehensive Service History

This one is pretty much self-explanatory. A full-service record and history is a good indicator of how well the car was taken care of by its previous owner.

Look out for the date of servicing, because from there you can determine whether it was done on time or overdue, another good indicator on whether the car was properly maintained.

A car that comes with a thick file of receipts for work done is usually a good sign. It’s one of the perks of buying a used car directly from a private owner. Used car dealers often won’t give you any service history, usually because they have rolled back the car’s mileage. Avoid cars that don’t come with a service history.

On the upside, buying from a used car dealer is a simpler, more straight forward process.

Tip #: Check For Warning Light

Looking To Purchase Used Car? Visit Now &  Meet Millions Of Sellers ...

As obvious as it may seem, never buy a used car without checking the dash for any warning lights or check engine codes.

Even if a used vehicles warning lights dont come on, it doesnt mean youre in the clear. There could be hundreds of other problems the seller isnt telling you. To avoid a used car scam, do a thorough check with an OBD2 scanner like FIXD.

FIXD can scan the vehicle for fault codes and identify irregular issues the car might have, translating them into simple terms on your phone. It can even show you a service timeline so you know exactly what youre getting into. The FIXD Sensor and app is compatible with iPhone and Android and works with any car made in 1996 or newer with OBD2 protocol.

Read Also: How Much Will Insurance Pay For My Totaled Car

Youre Our First Priorityevery Time

We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesnt feature every company or financial product available on the market, were proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward and free.

So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about , but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services.Here is a list of our partners.

What Should I Do Before Buying A Used Car

Youve been visiting the local dealerships and strolling the used car lots. You spend time looking at all the different types of cars, from full size family cars to pickup trucks and crossover SUVs. Then finally, something catches your eye. Its exactly what you were looking for. The price is right. But before you sign on the dotted lines, theres a couple of things youll want to check twice before striking a deal.

From the car history to the cooling off period. Along with understanding the car safety ratings and its vehicle class. Being armed with all the information you need before you get started, youre already one step ahead! To help you work out what to look for when considering buying a second hand car, we have put together this handy used car buyers checklist for you to use. While different types of cars and vehicle categories may not all be the same, these checklist items are pretty much universal. You will be able to quickly and easily check each item off as you go and know exactly what you should be looking for. From seatbelts to wheels, we have you covered.

Recommended Reading: Does Insurance Cover Rental Car For Repairs

Checking The Gearbox And Clutch

Gearbox and clutch checks are less about what you can see and more about what you can feel.

Manual and automatic gearboxes are available, but there are different types of automatic gearboxes which can behave differently. Whatever gearbox the car has, it should engage all gears smoothly and quietly. If it doesnt theres a problem.

In a manual car the clutch biting point – the point that you feel the car start to move when releasing the clutch pedal – should be around the middle of pedals travel. If you have to push your foot all the way to the floor, the clutch will need attention. It could be as simple as an adjustment, or a pricy replacement.

You should be able to change gears easily. Resistance or grinding noises also points to a problem.

Whichever type of automatic gearbox youre testing, make sure you engage all of the gears, make sure the kickdown works – the function that changes down gears when you press the accelerator pedal to the floor. If the car has a manual mode, operated either by steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles or a manual operation on the gearstick, try it out to ensure it works correctly.

Its worth remembering that CVT gearboxes dont actually change gear, although in some cars theres a gear shift function that mimics the action of changing gear.

Tips To Use On The Car Lot

How to Check Used Car Before Buying – DIY Inspection
  • Dont be a monthly payment buyer. If you have a preapproved loan, you’re a cash buyer as far as the dealer is concerned and you should negotiate on the price of the car, not the size of the monthly payment.

  • Start low, but in the ballpark. Lowball the seller and they wont treat you as a serious buyer. Instead, make an offer that is on the low side, but still enticing. Then, improve your offer slowly, perhaps in increments of $250.

  • Dont be trapped in the sales office. Dont let a salesperson leave you alone while they go to talk with their boss. Instead, roam around the showroom or go get a cup of coffee. Uncontrollable buyers keep salespeople off balance, which can help you in negotiations.

  • Negotiate slowly and repeat the numbers you hear. Take your time to understand all the numbers being thrown at you. Write them down, if that helps you. Confirm if you’re talking about the out-the-door price, which includes all taxes and fees, or just the sale price of the car.

  • Ask about fees before saying yes to a deal. Some dealers include bogus fees to take back profit they lose during the negotiation. Get a breakdown of additional fees before you agree to any deal.

  • Always be ready to walk. If you arent making progress toward a deal, or you dont like the way youre being treated, just walk out. You dont need an excuse. Im not going to buy is good enough.

You May Like: How To Start A Car Without A Key

Used Car Checklist Summary

Youll find more detail on each of the key areas below, but heres our used car checklist at a glance

  • Engine. Check for leaks, oil level, head gasket condition and exhaust smoke.
  • Gearbox and clutch. Feel and listen to the smoothness of the gear change, and test the clutch biting point.
  • Bodywork. Check the outside and underneath a torch is useful for the latter.
  • Wheels and tyres. Tread depth, rubber condition and makes of each tyre.
  • Interior. Check the boot, dash and electronics thoroughly.
  • Test drive. Dont hold back here, drive it until you have checked everything you want to.
  • Documents. V5c, service history and MoT .
  • Things To Avoid While Buying A Used Car: Tips For A Better Purchase

    When someone needs a car and is on a budget, they tend to go for a secondhand vehicle. Some people have landed to vehicles of their dreams from buying a used car, while others have their worst nightmare. These points on what to avoid when buying a used vehicle will make your purchasing process easier and better:

    Prioritizing Aesthetics Rather Than your Needs

    Even before you decide to get a vehicle, you already know what and how you want to use it. You should always remember the size and type of vehicle even before you start searching for the right one. Understanding your needs will prevent you from making an impulse purchase.

    At times someone may be very attracted to the vehicles looks, and they forget that it will not serve their purpose. For instance, if you need a truck for business purposes, you find yourself settling on a commuter vehicle. D not ever makes a mistake settling on a car before you know exactly what you need.

    Ignoring a Test Drive

    Someone may be in such a hurry to, but a vehicle and just assume that the vehicle is in good condition. You may have checked the physical aspects, but a test drive is the only way to get the feel of the vehicle.

    There are issues that you may not discover by looking but only come to know of them when you drive the vehicle. This gives you time to connect with the vehicle and ensure that it is functioning perfectly.

    Shoddy Title Evidence

    Ignoring Obvious Defects

    Failing to Have a Mechanic Inspection

    You May Like: How Long Does A Car Wrap Last

    How Are Your Negotiation Skills

    Some bargaining if not a lot would be required to get the deal you are looking for. Haggling can be nerve-wracking, get some help if you need it. Always make sure you do your homework. Or you can cut out the negotiation altogether by visiting a pre-owned outlet of any carmaker. It has advantages like the original manufacturer warranty and certification.

    Keep these things in mind, be patient, and practical and make sure to drive a hard bargain. Go get that car you are looking for!

    What To Look For When Buying A Used Car

    If you

    You’ve probably heard the phrase “caveat emptor.” In Latin, this means “Let the buyer beware,” but when it comes to purchasing a used car, a more appropriate phrase may be “Let the buyer prepare.”

    Fortunately, you don’t need to know Latin to avoid buying a lemonand you don’t necessarily need to be a car expert, either. Though there’s more to car buying than just looking for low mileage, a lot of used-car shopping just requires you to pair your common sense with your other senses: If a vehicle looks, sounds, feels, or yes, smells bad, it’s not a good sign.

    The trick is telling minor faults from major ones. You’ll want to use the former to negotiate the price you pay, while the latter will tell you when to walk away. Both are important to the buying process. You can tell which is which by learning just a few things, including different options that can protect you and your purchase if you’re not entirely sure whether to buy a specific used vehicle or not.

    Don’t Miss: What Is Lease To Own Car

    Checking The Wheels And Tyres

    This further external check is important to ensure any used buy already has a decent set of tyres. If it doesnt, negotiate money off the price, because new rubber can be costly.

    Check all four wheels, plus the spare wheel if it has one. Look for signs of damage to each wheel. Grazes from kerbstones are common, and arent usually a serious problem, but wheels that are bent or have large dents in the rims will need repairing or replacing.

    Check all of the tyres too. They should be free from cuts, splits, gouges or bulges if you see any, theyll need replacing. The tread should be at least 1.6mm deep around the whole tyre. Uneven tyre wear – where one side of the tyre is more worn than the other – can indicate poor wheel or suspension alignment. That could be caused by a crash, or simply hitting a pothole at speed, but will need fixing.

    Tyres that are worn excessively around the middle of the tyre, or around both edges point to consistent under- or over-inflation and will need replacing.

    Find A Vehicle History Report

    History reports are inexpensive and provide valuable information for purchasing decisions. Reports include details on accidents, flood damage, number of previous owners, VIN verification, actual mileage, and recall checks. If you are considering buying a used car from a dealer, ask to see a vehicle history report from CARFAX or similar service.

    Read Also: Should You Buy Rental Car Insurance

    Have The Car Inspected

    If you like the car, consider having a mechanic inspect it before you buy it. If you don’t have a mechanic, Google and Yelp are good places to read local shops’ reviews. A prepurchase inspection costs $100-$200 and can alert you to problems you may not find yourself. It’s a smart investment.

    A private-party seller will probably allow you to do this without much resistance. Most dealerships will let you borrow a car for an outside mechanic to inspect. You’ll be paying for the inspection, of course. If it is a CPO car, there’s already been an inspection and the car has a warranty, so there is little reason to take it to an independent mechanic.

    The Pros And Cons Of Buying A New Car

    12 Things To Check Before Buying A Used Car

    Buying a brand-new car sound like a great idea. There’s a lot of excitement and lots of things to discover in your brand-new vehicle. However, there are some drawbacks that you should keep in mind.

    Let’s take a closer look at the main pros and cons of buying and no car:

  • Pros of buying a new car
  • If you’re planning to buy a new car, you’ll enjoy the following benefits and pros:

    Ability to customize

    The first and most important thing about a new vehicle is that you can customize it how you want. You can add certain options and remove others. You don’t necessarily have to stick with the base model, but you can also add certain features that help you enjoy a better driving experience.

    Up-to-date technology

    Typically, most new vehicles have the most up-to-date technology. This technology is not only for entertainment purposes but also for safety purposes. That’s why you can enjoy driving safer without stress during your Trips.

    Less interest rate

    In many situations, if you’re planning to buy your new car alone, the interest rates are typically lower than someone else trying to buy a used vehicle. Then, of course, you get a shop and learn more depending on your information and credit score, but the interest rate will be much lower overall.

    Higher reliability

  • Cons of buying a new car
  • While buying a new vehicle is a lot of fun and will get you to enjoy the best technologies, there are some drawbacks to consider:


    Depreciation problems

    More money for insurance

    Also Check: Are Car Loans Simple Interest

    More articles

    Popular Articles