A used car can be softer on your wallet than a brand-new model, and that’s often the leading cause of someone buying an older version. If it still runs smoothly and gets you from one place to another, then there really isn’t an issue with buying a used car.
There are, however, some things you should consider before you buy a used car. Some factors affect the car itself while others might just tighten your bank balance a little.
Research the Model
Before you consider buying a used car, you should learn more about the model you’re interested in. Not only should you know the general information about the car, but also the history of the car and its previous owners.
To research a car, you can go to the manufacturer’s website or a site that specializes in auto reviews, such as Edmunds.com.
Research the Car’s History
Knowing a car’s history is important when buying a used car. Researching the car model will tell you the kinds of problems that might come up, but researching the history of the car will tell you what you can expect as far as maintenance and repairs.
You can research the vehicle’s history by searching the vehicle’s make, model, and year through Carfax.com.
The Carfax report will tell you:
- Records of accidents
- Service history
- Max speed
Look into the Mileage
Each car has a recommended number of miles a vehicle should be driven in a given year. If the vehicle has too many miles in a short period of time, there could be a problem.
If the vehicle has been driven too many miles in a short period of time, there could be problems, such as:
- Poor performance
You can research the mileage of a vehicle by searching the vehicle’s make, model, and year through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
But you might also consider the warranty you can get with a car that has high mileage. Some companies offer an extended warranty for cars over 100k miles.
Check for Excessive Damage
You can get a good idea of what damage a vehicle has suffered in a collision by looking at the paint job. If the paint job has been done in a garage, and not by a professional, it can be a sign of a collision.
One way to check for damage is by using the BBB Accredited Auto Repair Program.
A car that has been in an accident can have costly problems with:
- Air bags
Check the Engine and Transmission
Checking the engine and transmission is another important step in buying a used car. You can check the engine by listening for any unusual noises, and looking for leaks.
You can also take it for a test drive. If the car has a manual transmission, you can check how the clutch feels, and the transmission itself.
If you’re buying the car from a dealer, you can ask them to put the car on a lift and check the engine and transmission for you.
Make a List of Necessary Repairs
After you’ve done the research on the vehicle, make a list of potential problems that might come up with the car, and how much those repairs might cost.
This is a good way to figure out whether or not you should buy a used car, and how much you should pay for it.
If you decide to buy the car, you can negotiate with the seller to have these repairs done before you take possession of the car.
Financing a Used Car
If you’re in the market for a used car, you might have to consider financing. If you’re going to buy the car outright, you won’t have to worry about financing, but if you want to finance a car, you should keep the following tips in mind.
To Sum Up
Buying a used car isn’t a difficult thing to do. There are some things you should consider, like researching the model, checking the engine and transmission, and making a list of potential problems that could come up.
If you’re going to finance a car, you should know how much your monthly payments will be, and how long it will take to pay off.
You should also know if you’re going to pay a lump sum or make monthly payments.
If you still have questions about buying a used car, you can always ask your automotive advisor.