What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

When you plan to buy a used car, there’s a lot to contemplate before signing on the dotted lines. The main trick is to understand the faults and issues with the vehicle. If there are minor problems, you can negotiate the prices. However, if the problems are significant, it’s not a good sign, and you should walk away.

Here's a rundown of things to check when buying a pre-owned vehicle.

Look from the Inside Out

Before investing in a used vehicle, it makes sense to inspect it from inside out. Look over the exterior to see if there are dents, rust stains, or scratches on the car. While small dings aren’t a big concern, larger damage shouldn’t go unnoticed. Also, see if the panels of the body are even and the doors close/open properly. 

For checking the interiors, get inside the car and look around for unusual damage in the upholstery. If you get a musty smell inside, it may be due to leakages or water damage. So, check the floor mats and carpets, as well.

Look into the Vehicle History

Checking the history of a pre-owned car is vital. It helps to understand if any outstanding finances or records are stating the car was stolen or written off previously. Though many companies provide history checks for a fee, the information may not be sufficient to make a buying decision. 

So, ask for a report from a source that can provide vital details like if the car comes with a salvage title or if its odometer is rolled back. You need the vehicle identification number to get complete information about its history. Prefer buying from a reputable dealer because they can provide this report for free with complete and authentic information.

Look into the Mileage

Though checking the mileage is a wise choice, a high or low number shouldn’t deter you. It is a subjective aspect of buying a used car. Some experts believe that a car with high mileage isn't necessarily a bad buy. If the previous owner has taken care of major issues and maintained the car in topmost conditions, high mileage isn't a red flag. 

On the other hand, low mileage looks appealing, but it doesn't ensure a great deal. If the car is driven less frequently, its rubber and plastic parts might get brittle. Similarly, the drivetrain is also better in the cars that are used consistently. So, the best idea is to get the car inspected by a certified mechanic instead of making a decision based on its mileage. 

Look into the Documents

After you get the vehicle checked by a mechanic, conduct some research about its documents, as well. Check the existing insurance policy to see if the car has undergone any accidents or pending claims related to the same. Also, check that the chassis number and engine number match the VIN of the car. 

Apart from these, ask for a test drive to know if it is the right vehicle for your needs. Also, check the tire conditions to see if there is a poor alignment in the tires.