Our friends at TriNorth Media reached out to share some tips to remember when buying a used vehicle. As always, be smart, be savvy and protect yourself.
There are some great deals out there if you want to buy a used car versus driving a new one off the car lot. But you do have to be careful. You don’t want to buy a lemon or drive somebody else’s problems home to your driveway. That’s why it’s important to ask a lot of questions when buying a used car. These questions will give you insight into the history of the vehicle and help you discover any potential issues with your new-to-you, used car. But even before you ask questions, you can do some research yourself.
One of the best ways to begin is to get the vehicle’s automotive history report. Search Companies like Autocheck, Carfax and CarProof can provide reliable reports. CarProof is a company that researches every used car on the market to provide you with information about that vehicle’s involvement with accidents or natural disasters like floods, as well as the mileage and maintenance records for most vehicles. All you need is the car’s Vehicle Identification Number or VIN. The history report will tell you if the car has been in a front-end collision or a flood. They can also tell you if the airbags have been previously deployed or if the odometer has been adjusted to lower the mileage. It is not a perfect solution but it is a great place to start.
If nothing shows up in the automotive history report, here are some other questions to ask when buying a used car. These are all questions that you can ask on the phone before even seeing the car. Then check the answers against what you see when you show up for your test drive.
What is the car’s condition?
Start with this broad question and wait for the answer. They might tell you something you wouldn’t have thought to ask about. As a follow-up, you could ask about the body and interior. They will help to clarify and bring to light any other possible problems.
Has the car been in an accident?
You will have already checked this with the history report but also ask about the extent of the damage and if there were major repairs or any engine damage. A used car that’s been involved with either might be a problem later.
How many miles has it been driven?
Check if the mileage appears too high or too low for the age of the car. This will indicate whether there have been more highway commutes or short stop and go trips. Highway miles are better for the long-term health of a used car.
Do you have service records?
A used car that has been well cared for will last a lot longer than one that has not. The seller should have maintenance and service records to prove that they have gotten the maintenance specified by the car manufacturer. Without records you just have to take their word for it. Also, ask them for the receipts of any new parts like mufflers, tires, or brakes.
Has the car ever been recalled?
Almost every car these days has been recalled for some reason or another. Ask the seller if the car they are offering has had any recall work done, or if any is outstanding. You can check this info yourself, but if they are not up to date on the recall issues, that is not a good sign.
Can I take it for a test drive?
This might be one of your last questions, but it is very important. You may find other problems or issues when you get behind the wheel that they didn’t tell you about or that you didn’t think to ask about. You may feel a little shake or shimmer or hear a noise that doesn’t quite sound right. Time to ask more questions.
This post has been sponsored by TriNorth Media.