5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Second-Hand Car

December 16, 2016Diana Lengerson

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Photo by Joshua_Willson, CC0 1.0

You’ve made the decision to consider grabbing yourself a preowned vehicle. Congratulations!

You’re probably beyond prepared for this, right? Maybe?

Well then here, read these things to consider before buying a second-hand car.

  1. Do Your Research

One of the worst things you can do is walking into a dealership or onto someone’s property and throw your money at them without doing some well-prepared research. You should think like this, there are more risks in buying a used car than to new one. You just never know what the previous owner did to it. Looks are deceiving when it comes to cars.

Make sure you do research on the model of car. Check consumer reports and current car owner’s reviews of the model. Consumer reports show the most common issues related to the car. You should be able to have a clear picture of the reliability of the model of car. Some models just hold up better over time than other models. This makes for an important first step before even looking at the cars condition.

  1. Get A Carfax Report

If you’re buying from a dealership, you’ll find that some will give you a Carfax report for the car you’re interested in. Not all dealerships and private sellers will be as courteous. Lucky for you its relatively easy to obtain a Carfax report on your own, so either way you should always seek a report on the car.

These reports give you the entire life history of the car. Noting all accidents, damages, and repairs that were incurred. Knowing the cars history will give you a good understanding of any possible dangers in purchasing this car.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to know what the past owner did to it? I’d love to see if they were a safe driver or were preparing for a demolition derby.

  1. Inspect It

It’s a smart to do inspecting, whether it’s by a skilled mechanic or using knowledge you’ve gathered during your research.

A mechanic will be able to notice and check the cars current state. Mechanics know the repair process, they will be able to identify any auto body repairs made to the car. Not only that, a mechanic will also be able to tell you if the car in its current state is worth the price tag.

If you take the latter road, here’s some helpful hints to look for on your own.

Check the cars paint job. Locate problems like rust, cracks, and dents. Also, observe the paint for a waviness effect, this indicated a new paintjob which could be hiding damage and problems. Make sure to look in the trunk. Signs of rust and water damage from any holes or cracks are potential worries.

Tires are critical to the search. Check the ware of the all the tires. It should all be even and match along with the others. Any signs of feathering in the ware means they is an alignment issue. This is a serious red flag.

You never buy a damaged car!

  1. Take It for A Test Drive

This is without a doubt the most fun part. Taking this little puppy out for a cruise on the open road. How a car feels in your hands will ultimate play the largest role in whether you can see yourself in it in the future.

Feel how it handles turns, stopping, accelerates, sounds. If you don’t enjoy the feel or have any worries listen to your gut, chances are this feeling won’t get better with time.

  1. Don’t Be Scared to Walk

When you first stumble upon a used car your thinking about buying, you should never plan to buy it on the first visit. It’s never a good idea to appear too eager. This only leads to you potentially being uncomfortable in settling for a price and a condition that will only have you pulling your hair out later.

Deals that are too good to pass up, are sometimes not worth it in the end. Prepare yourself to look around more, don’t be pressured into a decision because of the offer. Find the perfect match for you, walking away is the best option sometimes.

Think of used car buying as a hand of cards. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re going to win the deal. You should be confident in your hand and when you’re prepared enough to go all in you should be please by the result.

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