The US used car market is one of the most matured in the world with a large retailer base and a rise in consumer interest. A good pre-owned car can be both economical to run and easy to maintain. However, the sheer number of used cars available to a consumer means that it is very essential to ensure that the vehicle you purchase is in good shape and you weed out bad examples which can be costly in the long run albeit cheap to buy. So, what are the most important aspects that you should look into before you purchase your dream vehicle? Here is the lost of our top 5 things to check before you buy your used car:
1. Exterior and Interior: Check the condition of the vehicle, both the exterior paint and interiors. The paint depth can be checked with a paint depth gauge which helps you identify if any of the panels have been repainted. Additionally, look which panels have been repainted. Repainting the hood and the front bumper generally indicates a head on collision. Also open the engine bay and check for rust. Interiors fade with age, but make sure to check the upholstery carefully. Dirty and rusted parts is a strong indication of trouble down the road. Preferably, have a mechanic inspect the car to ensure the car is in good working condition.
2. Vehicle History Report: These reports are easily available from dealers or can be ordered online and can help you see the ownership history, service points, large or small accidents, and title problems. Additionally, read reviews of the make and model to help uncover possible defects, common problems faced, and the cost of repairs/replacement of consumables and parts. Also check if the vehicle has ever been recalled. These will go a long way in helping you narrow down on a car that will have a lower life cycle cost.
3. Take a test drive: A test drive is a must before your shortlist a car and is probably one of the best ways to know the condition of a car. Make sure that you are test driving the vehicle under different environments, on both local roads and highways. This gives you a very good feel on how the car performs. Make sure to note any unusual engine or body noise, brake performance at different speeds and whether all electronics are working properly.
4. Fair Purchase Price: To ensure that you pay a fair price for your vehicle, make sure that you compare prices of the make, model and year across multiple sources, both online and offline. Although the condition and mileage of the vehicle will play a role in the final price of your car, you can still get a ballpark figure of the current price.
5. Have a face to face with the owner: You’ll be surprised how much information can be unearthed when you talk with the owner. They will say both good and bad about their cars and how the experience was. Ask them why are they selling the car, how many miles the car has been driven a year, who drove the car regularly. All of these are valuable information which will assist you in ensuring that the car that you purchase will be hassle free and easy on the pocket.