If you are considering buying a used car, there are some important things to consider before making a purchase. The car can have a powerful engine and incredible wheels but can also have a history of transmission problems and possible oxidation problems. Let’s face it: there is no perfect used car. However, there are some things you can do to avoid buying a used car that will give you problems later.
Here is my list of the top seven things you should know before buying a used car:
1.) Brand Power – When it comes to buying a used car, it is best to look for good and reliable brands. Usually, brands from Japan such as Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi are known for their world-class engineering, value for money and dependability.
Japanese cars are also feature-rich and are equipped with air conditioning, power steering, airbags, ABS, and many more such options. These vehicles hold up cosmetically as well as mechanically, making them great used cars to purchase.
2.) Detailed Mechanical Inspection – Just looking at the car and taking a test drive is not enough, you need to get a thorough inspection done by an expert. A mechanic can instantly point out the defects in a car including corrosion, previous crash damage, fluid leaks, engine problems, hidden frame damage and so on. Always get your car checked and mechanically inspected to avoid problems later on.
3.) Vehicle History Report – When purchasing a used car keep in mind that it has been used by someone else and has a history you are unaware of. To know more about your car, its ownership, title status, commercial record etc. you will need to run a Vehicle History Report. The easiest way to get this report is through ‘Carfax’. You will need the VIN number of the car to generate this report.
4.) Car Rental Agencies – If you are planning to buy a used car from car rental agencies, be prepared to pay a higher price. While rental cars might have more scratches and dents than a private car, their engines are usually in a better condition and are well-maintained. Car rental companies usually sell off their cars within 2-3 years of use, which is an added advantage since you are getting a fairly new vehicle.
5.) Don’t be in a hurry – Even if you think you have found the perfect car for your needs, don’t rush into buying it. Look for more cars in the same price range, try different dealers and have a few options in hand. Take the car for a test drive. You will want to drive it on different kinds of terrains – uphill, downhill, rugged roads, highway etc. Check the engine power, brakes, and overall drive experience. It is important to look at all aspects before you buy a used car.
6.) Lemon Law – Lemon Law is basically a law that is meant to protect the consumers from being sold defective or unauthorized goods. Every state has its own Lemon Law and it is advisable to find out more about the law in your state before signing the sales deed. Being aware of your legal rights is important especially when you are buying a used commodity as expensive as a car.
7.) Do Some Homework – Before you approach a car dealer, or a private owner interested in selling their car, you must do some research on your end. Look up the make and model of the car you want to buy on online sites such as kbb.com etc. and find out the price range for such cars. There are many companies which give you an approx. price for a used car based on the mileage, features, and condition. This allows you to make the right offer in terms of price and avoid being cheated.
While used cars do not come with any guarantee, following the above tips and doing some groundwork can help you get the best deal.