Buying a used car has its risks, but you can minimize it by performing some due diligence. Don’t rely on dealerships or sellers to provide you with a comprehensive picture of car’s status and condition. Instead, perform your own research using different resources available to you. Here are 5 things to check before buying a used car.
1 – Vehicle Features
It’s not uncommon for information on a vehicle to be inaccurate. For instance, the feature sheet may indicate that a vehicle has all-wheel drive when it in fact is front wheel drive. Be an educated consumer by looking up basic information on your own. Using the year, make, and model of the vehicle, you can find the original manufacturer’s spec sheet online. This lets you know what came standard with the vehicle and what were optional upgrades. It can be a great starting point to understanding what is or is not included with a particular used car.
2 – CarFax Report
A CarFax report details the title history of car, including ownership changes and reported accidents. This is extremely helpful. A car that has been in a serious accident may have issues that you will not notice during a test drive but could create problems for you later on. A salvage title indicates that a car was severely damaged at some point. These are all red flags that you should be aware of.
3 – Owner Locations & Major Weather Incidents
Using the ownership history from the CarFax report, you can do some additional detective work. For each title transfer, check the location and date against major weather incidents. For example, if there was major flooding in the area shortly before a car was sold, this could mean that the car was written off as flood damaged and bought by someone to refurbish and sell. It may be difficult to tell conclusively that this occurred, but you can use some of these factors as hints of a problem.
4 – Maintenance Records
Ask for maintenance records on a vehicle. If the seller does not have this information, you may be able to request it from the manufacturer. It might also appear on the CarFax report. A car that has been properly maintained over the years will have more longevity than one that has been neglected.
5 – Warranty Status
The last of the 5 things to check before buying a used car is the warranty status. What was the original warranty on the car? When does it expire? A car still under warranty is more valuable than one that is not. Ask a seller if they have the warranty paperwork available. Otherwise, through a quick online search, you can look up manufacturer warranty details.
Other Things to Check Before Buying a Used Car
The above are just a few important things to check before buying a used car. If you are not car-savvy, consider hiring a mechanic to test drive and inspect a car for you. Given the financial commitment of buying a car, the small cost of an inspection is well worth the peace of mind. Being an educated buyer is critical to making smart car buying decisions. Selecting a quality vehicle with a clean history will reduce potential issues and save you money. We hope that these tips will help you in your next used car purchase. Don’t forget to contact us for a free quote on insuring your next used car purchase!