Buying a used car is an experience almost all of us are familiar with. While the idea of getting a car for cheap can be quite exciting, the used car market can be quite unforgiving. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the ten things you should look for when buying a used car. Use this as a base when checking each car you like. The idea is simple: create a list of specific cars you are interested in and shop around. If you see a couple of good candidates, start a thorough check using this list.
What to Look for When Buying a Used Car
1. Check the price
Remember when we told you to first create a list of specific cars you are interested in buying? Well, it’s because knowing what you want and getting a good idea of its price in the secondhand market will help you. Sometimes you can see a car sold at a very high price which means you can still haggle. Knowing the average price for that specific car will be helpful in negotiating with the seller.
Also, it’s worth noting that when a car is sold way below its average price then you should be wary. The car might have hidden issues or the seller is dishonest with the condition of the car.
2. Test drive the car
Test driving a used car should be automatic. You are going to buy a car that has been driven so you need to personally know how it feels. If you just started driving, it might be better to ask a more seasoned veteran to drive for you. When you test drive the vehicle you will get a good feel of its condition.
Do you hear random noises? Is it accelerating well? Does the steering feel natural? Make sure you simulate regular car usage to see if the car is indeed in the condition it is being sold on.
3. Research the vehicle
Assuming you made your list based on research, then this shouldn’t take long. However, in case you found a car you liked that is not on your list, then just do a quick Google search of the car to see any common issues you should be looking out for.
4. Check the history of the vehicle
The car might have a bit of a story behind it that the seller does not want you to know. Find out and make sure you are getting a car with zero secrets (which can sometimes mean serious internal damage).
5. Have a mechanic check the vehicle
Honest sellers wouldn’t mind having a trained mechanic check the vehicle. A professional can see issues that most of us might miss. The mechanic can then give you a good idea of the issues the car has, how much it will cost to repair, and a suggestion on whether the car is worth buying.
6. Look at the reviews of the model type and year
Now let’s assume you already found the perfect car for you and your mechanic gave you the green light. Should you go ahead and pay for the car? Well, if you have 10 minutes to spare then you should go and check reviews of the car model. Some people might have experienced certain issues with the car that you haven’t noticed yet. Just don’t forget to take reviews with a grain of salt, especially when they don’t come from seasoned reviewers.
7. Try to negotiate
There’s nothing wrong with trying to negotiate with the seller. Most sellers put a price on their used car already considering the buyer to negotiate. If you can take a few hundred dollars to a thousand from the original price then that would be a score. Having a mechanic also helps as their suggestions and findings can help you negotiate with the seller better.
8. Check the papers
You wouldn’t want to drive a stolen car, right? Double check the papers presented to you by the owner and you can even do a VIN number to make sure there were no replacements made. Most honest sellers will have no problems presenting the papers and showing you the VIN of the vehicle.
9. Ask for a warranty
Try to talk to the owner if you can come up with a warranty for the vehicle. Sure, you already did a test drive and the mechanic checked it but there are times when problems arise a few days after driving the vehicle. Make sure you agree to a fair warranty agreement that ensures both parties are protected if certain issues arise.
10. Take your time
Most of the people who regretted their used car purchase are the ones that get too giddy and make the purchase right away. While waiting means another person might get the car, waiting also ensures you are really making the right decision. A day or two of waiting usually works wonders.
Bring Your Used Car Candidates to T3 Atlanta for an Inspection
If you’ve found the perfect used vehicle but want to make sure it’s in good condition before you buy, let our team at T3 Atlanta check it out for you. Our expert mechanics can help you spot hidden issues or future concerns with your car and solutions on how to address them before they become big problems. Remember, prevention is always better than the cure!