You’ve been on the fence between buying a new vs. used car and decided to save some money with a pre-owned vehicle. Now what? Used cars that are sold with hidden damage can become costly problems for the unsuspecting buyer. To avoid purchasing the proverbial lemon, here are some strategies for avoiding a bad investment.
The Test Drive
Take the car on a test drive on both local roads and highways. In different environments, you can get a good feel for how the car responds and performs. On local roads, you will feel how the car shifts and responds to sharp turns. You’ll also get a good idea on the condition of the brakes with stop-and-go. With a quick trip on the highway, you can note if the engine runs smoothly or not. While on a test drive, keep your eyes and ears open. Make sure to note any unusual engine noises and whether or not all of the electronics in the car are working properly.
The Aesthetics: Inside and Out
Both the inside and outside condition of the car play a large factor in value. Check the interior carefully. Including upholstery, along with the exterior of the car. That’s not to say you shouldn’t purchase a car that has been in a minor fender-bender, but you’ll want to make sure the exterior was repaired professionally and that the results are barely visible to the eye. Open the hood and look at the engine and parts. Rusted over and dirty parts may be an indication of poor maintenance and could signal bigger issues down the road.
The Leak Test
Any car that is leaking fluids is a red flag for a needed repair. During your test drive, take a moment to park in a clean area on the road, and let the car run for at least 30 seconds. Then, move the car and do a visible inspection for any leaking substances. Black fluid might be an indicator of leaking oil, green fluid may indicate a leak in anti-freeze, and pink fluid may indicate a leak in the transmission.
Research Reviews on the Make and Model
Do a bit of detective work on industry and consumer reviews on the make and model to uncover possible defects or even common problems. You can easily do a check by doing a search on Google.
To ensure that you are being charged a fair price, make sure to compare prices for the same make, model and year with several sources. Checking the Blue Book values and dealer prices can easily be done online. Even though condition and mileage will play a role in price, you can still get a good ballpark figure of the going price.
Bring your car to the experts at The Car Place for a pre-purchase inspection. We’ll look over the vehicle and give you quality, unbiased information to help ensure you make the best decision in buying your “new” used car. Call today!