What To Look For When Buying A Car

June 9th, 2020 by

If you want the car feel, without the new car price then purchasing a used car oftentimes is the better deal. While a used car may be a sensible option for consumers to make smart choices. When buying a used Honda Accord, or any pre-owned coupes vs. sedans, there is a lot to look for, but here are some ways to help you choose the right vehicle for you.

Inspect The Interior and Exterior

Inspect the vehicle’s exterior as well as inside. Check over the vehicle’s body, CARFAX notes, looking for scratches dents and rust You certainly don’t have to worry about minor dings or bruises, but you may be concerned about larger areas of damage CARFAX also suggests testing for body panels to line up equally, as irregular panels that suggest that the car was in an accident but was not properly fixed. Opening and closing the windows, hood and trunk is also a good idea to see how quickly they travel. Kelley Blue Book (KBB) recommends that the inside of the hood trunk and windows should be tested for paint overspray and that the vehicle’s color suits both parts.

Inspect the interior by sitting in all the seats and looking for excessive wear and tear, CARFAX says. If the car’s interior smells musty, look for signs of a spill and water damage on the carpet or floor mats. Learn more about cleaning leather seats with our service tips.

Test Drive

According to Edmunds, going for a test drive will help you determine the car’s condition and whether it is a good fit for you. Once you start the engine, you may want to turn the key to the “accessory” position says KBB. You should see all the warning lights on the dashboard coming on. If they don’t light up, or if you turn the ignition on, make sure that the fault is checked.

KBB advises listening for tapping or clicking sounds when you start the engine, which could suggest an issue. Keep your eyes and ears open while you are on a test drive. CARFAX advises driving the car on various road types and at different speeds to see if the transmission is moving smoothly. Make sure you hear no odd engine and brake sound, and whether all of the car’s components work properly. Always, make sure the brakes are working properly and don’t pull the vehicle to one side, CARFAX says.

Considering Mileage

When taking into consideration the mileage of a vehicle, high mileage is not necessarily a bad thing, and low mileage does not always mean that the vehicle is in great shape.

What Is Good Mileage For A Used Car

There is no clear answer to this question since, according to AutoTrader, the way the vehicle is handled and used may be more important than its mileage. It’s a good idea to be cautious when buying a high-mileage vehicle, because some materials and parts of the engine just don’t last forever, says AutoTrader. If the seller has repaired and taken care of any problems, though, the vehicle may have a lot of life left in it. It can make a difference in how the vehicle was used. A car with 100,000 miles mostly on highways may be in better shape than a high-mileage car mostly used on city roads, which can be more demanding on an automobile.

Is Low Mileage On A Used Car Good?

For example, low-mileage used cars can be appealing but it doesn’t necessarily make them a good deal. Without a doubt, low mileage can mean less wear and tear and longer life. If a car is driven occasionally, though, the vehicle’s plastic and rubber parts can dry out and become brittle. If the engine is used consistently, it’s also good for the drivetrain. You might end up with a car that needs a lot of maintenance and reconditioning, which in the long run may cost you more.

Checking the mileage on an old car is good, but keep in mind that it may be more important how the vehicle has been handled and used than what the odometer tells.

Checking For Leaks

Any vehicle that spills liquids is typically a red flag to patch it. Check under the vehicle to see if there is any leaking of water, CARFAX says. Black fluid may indicate leakage of oil while green yellow or pink fluid may indicate leakage of antifreeze and reddish fluid may result in leakage of the transmission or power-steering fluid.

Having A Mechanic Look At It

A mechanic may be able to detect issues you haven’t found, so consider having a professional check the vehicle. Many service stations carry out pre-purchase checks for a fee, so avoid buying a car with major problems may well be worth the price. You will feel better after the inspection realizing that you are having a sound vehicle. You could also use the inspection report to discuss the purchase price with the vendor if there are some fixable faults are uncovered.

Fair Purchase Price

To better ensure a fair price is paid, be sure to compare prices to multiple sources for the same build, design and year. Online testing and pricing of dealers can be done simply. There are a number of online resources that you can use to compare prices, including KBB and Association Guides for National Automobile Dealers. While condition and mileage can play a role in cost, an approximate estimate of the market value of the vehicle can still be obtained. The purchase price will vary depending on if the car is certified pre-owned or used.

Searching The VIN

A lot about a vehicle can be known by the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN. Reviewing a VIN decoder chart is a quick way to see if the VIN details of a used car fits what is in the vehicle title or records. Many VIN decoders are available online, including one from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Additionally, the VIN can be used to see if the car has any recalls. On the NHTSA’s Safety Issues and Recalls page you can look up a VIN car to see if the vehicle needs repairs because of a safety recall. Keep in mind, though, that data may not be available on an older vehicle, recalls relating to non-safety and recalls recently announced. There may also be no mention of certain models or imported cars.

Review Vehicle History Report

A document on automotive records will help you see registration problems, record of possession, service points and past incidents, says KBB. Through entering the VIN or license plate number, you can get a vehicle history file for a fee online. But, when you buy through a seller, they can provide a free history report.

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