I love to travel, and I spend a lot of time in my car. So, a friend of mine recently asked me to help her around buying a used car. I am not an expert for cars and their maintenance – I know the most basic things. We looked a lot of cars together, and that inspired me to make a list of tips that you should keep in mind when you are buying a used car.
Narrow your selection. When buying a new car, the choice is smaller because it needs to fit into the budget. When buying a used car, the offer becomes much wider. Determine your budget. How much money can you actually spend on a vehicle? How much does it cost maintenance of a given’s car and whether your monthly budgets can cover these costs? These are some of the ways to narrow the selection of used cars.
Do your research. Online research will save you time and money. Find out which brand of the car you can buy for the money that you are taking and choose a few models that work best for you. Look for other people’s experiences on forums, blogs in the talks.
Go and see the car. While you can find a great offer online, you need to look the car live. Evaluate its look. I do not mean the shape of the car – that you have chosen when you narrowed your choices on particular brands. I think about the appearance of sheet metal. Check for signs of corrosion inside and outside. Check the trunk, move the upholstery to see the situation under it. If it is possible, check if the car is well preserved underneath.
Check “the health” of the car. Even if you are not an expert, a good OBD2 scanner can diagnose a used car and recommend repairs that need to be done. Repairs are an additional cost that may not fit into your budget.
Check the tires. It is clear that the markings on the tires must be good, and that reserve tire must be in good condition. Make sure, however, whether some tire has significant differences in appearance. This may indicate a problem on the car.
Try the car in driving. Check the brakes, how the car works when the engine is cold, how when it is heated. You do not need a lot of wisdom to conclude that a lot of bumping, grinding and unusual noises during the driving are not the best sign.
Take a peek under the hood. Even if you’re not an expert on cars, look under the hood has a lot to tell you. Dirty or oily areas under the hood mean that there are plenty of oils spilled. That’s not a trustworthy sign. Check hoses. They should not be brittle and with cracks.
Take the car to the mechanic. Let a qualified person check whether the car you want to buy is correct and good enough.
Personally, when I pick the car, the brand and look are less important. Safety and reliability are first on my list of requests that a used car should have. Sometimes a quick overview can tell you a lot about the car. Best is, however, when all the pieces coincide.