There are many ways to shop for used car. You can go from dealer to dealer and used car lot to used car lot, you can go on many of the used car sites online, or even an auction site online. Regardless of how you go about finding a vehicle it is important you understand what to look out for to make sure the you are not purchasing somebody else’s discarded problems. Here are some tips that might help you to find a high-quality vehicle that hopefully will serve you for many years to come…
1. Take your time when evaluating a vehicle. Take several walks around the exterior of the vehicle noting any imperfections you may find. Open the doors, trunk, and hood and look for anything that does not look like it was original or just doesn’t look right. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions and evaluate the answers you received. Do the same with the interior, take your time and sit in the vehicle and make sure you try all of the equipment and accessories to make sure they are operating properly. Shift the vehicle into drive, neutral, and reverse and make sure it seems to shift quickly and smoothly. If not, expensive repairs may be imminent.
2. Ask for a vehicle history report such as Carfax or AutoCheck. Make sure the vehicle has no major negative events in its history and that there are no odometer discrepancies.
3. Start the engine and open up the hood. Your eyes, ears, and nose are your best friends here. You want to look for any visible oil leaks. You want to listen for any unusual sounds. And you want to make sure that there are no unusual smells, for instance something smelling like it’s burning. Check the transmission fluid by pulling out the dipstick and checking the level and giving it a quick smell. If the vehicle was just started the transmission fluid level should be near the cold marker. You want to make sure it does not smell burnt as this could identify a current or pending problem. When the engine is turned off again pull out the oil dipstick and again, make sure it looks like it is not dirty and does not smell burnt. The color of the oil should be similar to dark amber.
4. Now it’s time for a test drive. Before you start moving check the steering system. Open the windows and turned the steering wheel hard all the way to one side, and then the other. You want to make sure there is no resistance and that there are no loud squealing sounds which could signify a problem with costly parts of the steering system. You will also want to jiggle the wheel back and forth a bit from the center position and make sure that it doesn’t have any play. Going from one side to the other. It should feel firm when turning from one side to the other. Once you are confident the vehicle is safe to drive make sure you drive it with the windows open and closed. Make sure you don’t hear any noises that seem uncommon. If you do find any potential issues and you are not sure what they are make sure to have a qualified mechanic look the car over before you complete the purchase. While driving, make sure to pay attention to the brakes. Do they feel like they are working properly and stopping the car efficiently? If not, they may need to be addressed and that could help you as any other problems found, in negotiating a better purchase price.
5. Last, but certainly not least. Asked to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic or shop of your choice. If there is any resistance to having the vehicle inspected run, don’t walk away from the vehicle as is a telltale sign there are going to be issues found.
Once you have found the right vehicle and have made a purchase it is a sound financial decision and great idea to purchase a quality used car warranty. An auto warranty can protect you from the inevitable major or minor repairs that you will face down the road. There are few reputable companies that will allow you to purchase coverage directly, excluding the dealer and their profit, at wholesale pricing. A great place to start is Auto Advantage Inc.