Your Guide to Buying Used Cars

Used cars can be a smart investment if you take the correct measures. Shopping isn’t as easy as walking onto a lot and pointing at the automobile you want and then handing over cash. This is an item that you’ll most likely use for years; therefore, you’ll want to gather valuable information on specs, safety awards, and customer reviews to determine which one offers the best value for the asking price. Following these valuable tips can mean the difference between a good buying experience and a bad one.

If you know the types of used cars offered through the seller, a great precautionary measure can be to run a history report on that specific vehicle. In some cases, as a sign of good faith, the dealership may run the report for you (the customer). Car history reports can show any past damages incurred, recall notices, or body repair that has taken place under previous ownership. If you decide to run the report yourself there are resources such as AutoCheck and Carfax, which will deliver this important information to you personally. With the VIN number you can gain access to answers as to whether the auto in question was a salvage title or if it was ever declared as a total loss by a previous insurance company. Additionally, mileage can be a huge factor in purchasing your car or truck, and reports can help you to determine if the odometer was ever reset or if the gauged mileage is accurately depicted on the vehicle. Many reports will indicate the times of year that a car has undergone general maintenance and service upkeep. If a vehicle has been routinely cared for, it is more likely to perform properly.

In some cases, you may be able to contact the previous owner to inquire about any instances of damage or setbacks that arose under their ownership, which may not appear on the official history report. Having a full understanding of the condition-level of an automobile can help you determine if it is actually worth following through with a purchase or not.

One of the greatest tests you an perform during pre-purchase is the test drive. A solid test drive can help you understand if a particular vehicle is comfortable to handle and if there are any suspicious sounds or performance issues that were previously unmentioned by the seller. When testing out used cars, always try to drive under the normal conditions in which you would operate the vehicle should you actually own it. Additionally, it is recommended that you at least accelerate to 65mph to check how the auto handles at higher speed and on the interstate.

If you personally deem the car, truck, or SUV to be in good condition, it is good advice to have it inspected by an outside source. Any damages or unlisted changes that may have taken place while on the dealership lot will not show up on the most recent report, and taking this precautionary measure will help to reduce any buyer’s remorse.