Getting a good deal on a used car is a bit of a balancing act. You want it to be economical, but at the same time you don’t want to have too many problems with it. You expect certain defects and aren’t thinking it is going to go long term without any repairs.
When you buy a used car, you have to be careful that you don’t fall for any gimmicks the owner or used car dealer may be trying on you to conceal some serious problems while trying to get you to overspend.
There are things to look for so you can understand exactly what you may be getting yourself into. In this article, I will go over several of the things to look out for.
1 – Wear and Tear vs Damage
Some wear and tear on a used car is expected and in fact, can even help you when bargaining on price. However, there is a line between some signs of its age and things that are actually problems.
For instance, it’s alright if you see some spots of rust on the body, particularly around the wheel wells. A little bit of rust paint and the problem is solved and you saved some money since you can haggle on that point.
However, if there is significant rust in certain areas that can be a sign that there are bigger problems that you can’t see. Likewise, if you see that there are signs of wear in certain parts of the tires, then this could indicate that the suspension is off and will need to be replaced at your expense.
2 – Look for Signs of Leaks
When people look into the motor when they open up the hood, they are usually looking for any signs of leaks. Gaskets get dried out over time and then crack. When this happens oil gets through and the motor can end up getting damaged.
Also, if you have some brake fluid lines that are leaking then your car will be dangerous to drive. After the car sits for a bit, look for any signs of oil or other fluids underneath the car after you’ve looked at the motor.
3 – Get a Vehicle History Report
If you have the VIN number ahead of time of the viewing you can have a check run on some websites that will give you a history of the car. If it has been in an accident then this is information that you need.
Also, you may find that certain recalls were issued and your car didn’t get the item fixed. In some cases you can even check on the maintenance history as well as repairs. One of the most important things to check with a used car is if the timing belt has been changed or if it is overdue. If the belt breaks or seizes because it is too old then your engine is instantly ruined.
Ou may have to pay to run the report but it pays for itself if you find the car has not been maintained.