Most people’s first car is used, rather than brand new. Buying a used car can be a very intimidating process, especially if you don’t know any mechanics to help you inspect the car. Just because a car has passed a safety inspection, that doesn’t mean that it’s in great shape. Lemon laws can help you if you’ve made a bad purchase, but the best option is just to find out a few simple tricks to avoid buying a low-quality used car in the first place.
There are plenty of car buying guides, but we’re going to cut right to the chase and provide 5 simple tips. Obviously, there’s more you may want to check out when buying a used car, but if you had to pick just 5 things to look for – here they are!
1. Get A Vehicle History Report
A vehicle history report can tell you if the car has been in any accidents and just give you a bit of an idea on the history of the car in general. You can look this up using the VIN number, which the seller should have no problem providing you with if they’re honest and legitimate. A simple vehicle history report should be free, but some companies may charge a small fee. In either case, knowledge is power so arm yourself when it comes to buying used cars.
2. Find Out What Makes To Avoid
You can take a look at a top 10 used vehicles list to see which used cars hold their value the best, are more reliable, which ones will cost you a fortune in parts, and a lot more. Certain used cars are notorious for being expensive to repair, or for just having poor reviews in general. Arm yourself with this knowledge and find out which makes you should avoid all-together.
3. Check The Belts & Hoses
Take a look under the hood. It’s okay if you’re not a mechanic and it’s okay if you’ve never looked under t he hood before. Simple look at the various hoses and belts on the inside. The belt should not be cracked or starting to wear, and the hoses shouldn’t have any visible cracks either. It’s not rocket science, just make sure you don’t see any obvious cracks or tears.
4. Check For Rust And Original Paint
Take a look for rust under the hood and on the outside of the car, too. Take a look underneath around the frame of the car as well. Has the car been painted over? Rust can hide just underneath the surface of the paint, but there are a few places you can check to see if the car has it’s original paint or not. First of all, take a look by the flap that covers the gas tank. Open it up, is the color the same on the inside too? Sometimes when cars are repainted, they don’t get all of the details. Another place to check is just inside the trunk, this is another area that isn’t always covered up perfectly with a second paint job.
5. Take A Test Drive
Listen to any odd clunking noises when you’re turning, make sure everything is smooth as you accelerate, and make sure you test the brakes too. If everything checks out, and the car has passed an insurance inspection, you might have found a winner!