What Should you Look for when Buying a Used Car?

What Should you Look for when Buying a Used Car?

Kelsey Ferrara

Kelsey FerraraMay 23, 20184 min read

Buying a used car is no walk in the park. It seems as though there are countless factors that buyers need to be aware of before making a purchase. With all of this information, the entire experience can quickly become overwhelming and confusing. For example, buyers need to be aware of signs that point to flood damage, prior accidents, neglect, irresponsible owners, etc. That’s why we’ve created the handy checklist below to ensure that you won’t get stuck with a lemon the next time you’re looking at used cars.

Car tires

Check it Out!

The physical condition of a car plays a huge role when determining its value. Make sure to check the interior upholstery carefully along with any dents or scratches on the outside of the car. Remember, it isn’t necessarily a red flag if the car was in a past accident as long as you ensure it was professionally repaired.

Another factor to check out are the tires on the car. This is often an overlooked aspect when it comes to used cars because buyers are usually more concerned with cosmetic damages. However, tires put up with a huge amount of wear and tear. Not to mention, there is no way to tell how often or aggressively the previous owner was driving it. If the tires seem worn down, you can easily replace them using tires from a reputable seller like GoodYear Tires. It’s GoodYear’s mission to simplify the process of buying tires and they have proven this by allowing users access to a library that will find tire matches based on vehicle type, license plate, and tire size. For a limited time, readers can receive $75 off on a set of four tires from Goodyear, plus additional rebates up to $160!

Test drive

Go for a Drive

After you check out the car for damage and wear, hop in the driver’s seat and take your potential new car for a test drive! This is the perfect chance to see the car in action and analyze how well it responds. Make sure that you plan out a road ahead of time and put the car through a variety of different tests during your drive. Start the test drive slow by cruising down side streets, which will allow you to learn how the car handles sharp turns and gear shifts. Once you feel comfortable on side streets, take the car onto the freeway to ensure the engine runs smoothly. Be sure to listen carefully while you’re driving and pay close attention to any unusual engine or brake noises as they could be a red flag. Finally, don’t be afraid to test out the radio dials, air conditioning, seat warmers, headlights, and windshield wipers to be certain everything is in working order.

Leak test

Put it through a Leak Test

Another factor to be aware of when buying a used car is whether the vehicle is dripping any kind of fluid. This test is very simple but necessary to perform as it usually signals that the car is in need of a major repair and should not be purchased. To perform the leak test, simply pull into a clean area and allow the car to run for at least 30 seconds. Then, move the car and check for any substances that may have leaked onto the ground.

Aggressive Driver

Get the VIN

If you’re seriously interested in a car, ask for the vehicle identification number and run a vehicle history report. This report will show you if the vehicle has been in an accident, experienced flood damage, and whether the cars odometer has been rolled back. It is crucial to be aware of all of these factors before purchasing a used car since they may lead to expensive future repairs.

Mechanic Tools

The Ultimate Test

If you have a little extra time, you should consider performing the ultimate test on your potential car: allowing a mechanic to take a look at it. Most people don’t take advantage of this option before purchasing a used car, which can lead to expensive car repairs down the road. A mechanic is a professional who can help you discover hidden problems within the vehicle, therefore saving you time, money, and stress later on. While you may have to pay around $100 for the pre-purchase check up, it is definitely worth it to have peace of mind.