There are many things that you need to remember when you are looking for used cars. One is that you have to understand a car is an investment and you therefore have to choose the right one. Don’t go solely for things like what the car looks like or what type of engine it has, nor for the extra features you might be able to get. Rather, you have to make a properly informed decision, considering all of the following issues.
The Vehicle’s History:
First of all, it can be hard to buy used cars because you will always be taking a gamble to a certain degree. Yet, it is possible to turn this in your favor by at least knowing the history of the vehicle itself. This means you need to know how many past owners it has had, whether it was ever involved in an accident, whether it has had any mechanical failures in the past, and how it has been maintained and serviced.
Next, you have to make sure that nobody has tampered with the odometer at any point. Have a look at the dashboard and see whether there are telltale marks, such as it being loose. This generally points to it having been tampered with. You should also be able to find service stickers somewhere inside the car or perhaps under the hood. This sticker should include the latest reading of the odometer, which should be less than what is currently shown.
Once you know that the odometer hasn’t been tampered with, you have to check the mileage. It is common for people to drive as much as 12,000 miles per year, although less is always better. More miles than that should be a big warning sign, as it means the car is likely to have numerous problems. This should be reflected in the price however. Hence, if you are a bit of a mechanic yourself, then buying a car with a high mileage could be a great way to make sure you get a good deal.
Do Not Sign ‘As Is’ Agreements:
Once you have found a used cars dealer and a vehicle that you like, you will be ready to purchase your car. However, before you sign any documents, you need to read them and understand them properly. Additionally, make sure that you are provided with a 30 day warranty at least. At the end of the day, all sorts of things could be wrong with the vehicle as it is a used car. Once you drive off the lot, any problems with the car are yours to handle. The warranty is going to be your best friend.
More Tips to Find the Best Used Cars:
There are some vital dos’s and don’ts when it comes to shopping for used cars as well. For instance:
- Do not tell dealers that you are on the lookout for used cars, or that you have already been or are planning to go elsewhere, unless you genuinely want to use that information to get a better deal.
- Do always compare the market. In any given geographical location, there are usually at least three car dealerships and you should visit them all. You should also use online selling platforms to see what vehicles are available in your area.
- Do be mindful of private sellers. You will not get a guarantee or warranty, and you won’t even know whether the vehicle has been stolen. If you do have to buy private, then make sure you complete a VIN check so you can find all of the vehicle’s past.
Remember that a car is an investment and you have to make sure, therefore, that you spend your money wisely. Once you get to the point that you feel you have found a vehicle that you want to buy, there are still some very important questions that you need to ask. Some of those may have already been answered while you were checking the cars, but it is better to ask the same thing several times than to forget altogether. Some of the questions to pose include:
- What is the mileage and how did it get there? For instance, a car that has 20,000 miles on it may have been driven very little for three years, or it is possible that it was suddenly driven a lot in the past three months or so. You need to know how the vehicle was driven, in other words. A car that belonged to an old lady who does 5,000 miles per year by driving to and from the grocery store will be very different from a car that has done 5,000 miles on a cross-country trip.
- What type of service has it had, and has it had any repairs? All cars need regular servicing, either every three years or every 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. Additionally, cars are mechanical products, which means something will go wrong with them inevitably. All of that is fine, but you do need to know what the results of those services were and which problems have been repaired and when. A car that needs a new battery is not so much a problem. A car that needs a new battery and, within weeks, also needs a wealth of other repairs, by contrast, could be an issue.
- Why is the car up for sale? There are many reasons why people want to offer used cars for sale, and most of them are perfectly valid and don’t say anything about the condition of the car. They may simply want an upgrade, look for something a little faster, a little more economical, or a little greener. But, sometimes, people get rid of their cars because it has problems or doesn’t drive well.
Last but not least, no matter where you buy a car, always take a test drive. Dealers and individual sellers alike will tell you that it drives like a dream. Unless you try that out for yourself, you may end up buying something you don’t want.