Although buying a used car can seem like a challenging decision, there are some things a potential buyer can do to help ensure that the vehicle they buy will be worth the investment.
Start with Research
The easiest way to ensure that you buy a quality used vehicle is by doing your research regarding the used-car businesses in the area. Make note of the differing reputations of the used car lots, ask if and what kind of initial inspection is done on the vehicles before being put up for sale, and what they offer as far as any kind of guarantee and/or warranty information. You can find some information by reading reviews online of different dealerships in your area.
Be Cautious of Private Sellers
Of course, not everyone likes to do business with used car salesman, and thanks to various Internet websites it is much easier to find and do business with the seller, thus effectively cutting out the “middle-man” and saving some cash. This is where a person can run into problems. It’s not uncommon for a person to spend thousands on a vehicle and a few weeks down the road find that a new transmission or engine is needed!
Remember that while you are saving money by not going through a dealer, you are entering into a cash sale with an unknown seller who does not have your best interests at heart. Not everybody is going to be honest and sometimes untrustworthy people to try to sell a vehicle while omitting or even denying major problems with it. Luckily, there is a way to reduce the possibility of this occurring.
Don’t Skip the Vehicle Inspection
Never buy a used vehicle without looking at the engine bay first. Even if you have no idea where the oil goes, it is easy to see whether or not the car has been at least looked after. Pay attention to the hoses in the front near the radiator. If they look like stuffed sausages getting ready to blow, you can just about guarantee a cooling issue with said vehicle. Pay special attention to used off-road Jeep vehicles, and take care to inspect them for undercarriage damage.
Make sure to check the radiator by opening the cap (after car is completely cool as it contains (hopefully) pressurized and extremely hot fluid) and make sure there is no gunk or residue on the cap. Check the oil on the dipstick and also take off the oil cap to see if any build-up of gunk is hiding inside. When you take the vehicle for a test drive, try to find a somewhat steep hill to take the vehicle up. While going uphill, give it some gas while paying attention to how the transmission performs. If any warning lights come on, it’s in your best interest to find a way to have the trouble codes read.
By doing some basic research and staying on your guard, you can ensure that the used vehicle you buy is one you are satisfied with.