Regardless of the price you will pay, purchasing a used car is an investment. Protecting your investment and avoiding buying someone else’s headache is critical.
The most important thing about a used car is not the make or model – it is the condition of that particular vehicle. Even the best makes of cars can be neglected and abused by previous owners and the less popular vehicles may have been well loved and meticulously maintained.
Who is selling the vehicle does not mean that the car is a good or a bad choice. Even the sleaziest of used car lots sometimes have great cars for sale and even the most reputable and honest lots have the occasional lemon.
No one sells a used car that is perfect. You can expect any used car to need some work or maintenance. What you don’t want is a car that needs one huge repair – like a new transmission. It is preferable to get a vehicle that needs a few minor things – like perhaps some tires, or a new battery or some exhaust work. Things that can be completed one at a time and that fit your budget are much easier to manage.
Here are a few things you can do to lower the likelihood of the lemon and to get that great dependable used car.
Don’t Rush – It takes time to find the right car for you. Don’t be pressured by the seller or your life circumstances. If it seems like the deal is “too good to be true” it probably is. Shopping for a used car is frustrating – but the time you spend now will save you money in the long run.
There is Always Another Good Car – If someone sells it “out from under you” don’t worry – there is another one out there and it may be even better. Just keep looking.
Test Drive Thoroughly – drive at highway speed to feel for vibrations, listen to noises, slam on the brakes – even if you don’t know what it means – you can notice noises and problems
Open the Hood – check the oil – look around – is the engine covered with oil? What do the belts and hoses look like? Look like you know what you are doing – even if you don’t – it will make the salesperson nervous.
Have Vehicle Checked by a Mechanic – who works for you – not the seller! A pre-purchase inspection is a must – and well worth the money. Alternative Auto Care does pre-purchase inspections every day!