Buying a car can be really exciting, but when you are purchasing a used car, there are many potential problems. There is no way of guaranteeing that what the seller is telling you is true, so you need to know what to check to make sure the car is in good working order. Many people have no idea what to look out for, and so they end up buying a car only to find out later it needs major repairs or may even be a total write-off. The best thing to do is take someone with you who knows about cars so they can help to spot any problems, but it is still worth knowing what to look out for.
To help everyone who is buying a used car, here are 6 vital things you need to check.
1. Check the Record of the Seller
If purchasing a vehicle from a private seller, you may want to check their record. The DMV can tell you about whether they have been involved in any car crimes previously, which can be a good way to know if they are legit. If you are purchasing the vehicle from a big seller, you may be able to find out more information from online reviews. This review of used car sellers Carvana has useful information about their sales process. Finally, try to read the body language and general demeanor of the seller. If they seem to be in a major hurry to sell the vehicle and they are offering it for a suspiciously low price, this could be a sign that something is not quite right.
2. Check the Body Work
You will need to thoroughly check the exterior of the car before making a purchase. As well as looking out for rust, scratches, and dents, check the alignment of the body panels. If they don’t line up evenly or it is difficult to shut the doors, hood, or trunk, the car may have been in an accident that the seller isn’t telling you about.
3. Test Drive the Car
The best way to check if the car is working properly is to take it for a test drive. This will highlight any performance issues and show you if there are any issues with the brakes, acceleration, and handling. Check that the windshield wipers and lights all work and also whether you feel comfortable driving the car. Try and take it on different road surfaces to make sure the car grips the road at all times and that the suspension is up to scratch. Finally, listen out for any strange noises which could be indicative of hidden problems.
4. Inspect the Interior
Inside the car, you should sit in every seat to make sure they all line up because, again, out-of-line seats may be a sign that the vehicle was previously in an accident. Check for water damage under the mats and carpets, as well as any signs of other leaks. May attention to the color of the leaks if you do spot any fluids. Red fluids could be a transmission leak, black ones could be oil, and pink, green or yellow fluids could be antifreeze.
5. Look at the Vehicle’s History
In addition to looking into the history of the seller, you can also check the history of the car itself using its VIN (vehicle identification number). Make sure that the VIN matches the car’s records and title. You can check this information online at the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You will also be able to check if the vehicle is subject to any recalls and get a specific vehicle history report.
6. The Mileage
While the mileage can be useful, you need to carefully consider what it means. For example, high mileage doesn’t necessarily mean that the car is bad, but a high mileage alongside other issues you have noticed with the engine could spell trouble. Likewise, do not immediately assume that a low mileage means the car is in good condition. A car that is used infrequently may have problems with the rubber and plastic components drying out, which can cause long-term issues and the need for more repairs. Never make a decision based on mileage alone but rather use it to confirm other issues that you notice.
Buying a used car can help you save a lot of money, but only if you do your due checks to make sure the car is in order. You need to ensure that there is nothing hidden in the vehicle’s history and that there is no unseen damage that could affect the car’s performance. Try to take someone with you who knows about cars when you go to see the car and look out for the six things in this article.