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Before going out to buy a used car, consider the following ten tips to make the best possible decision.

Check the vehicle history.

It is very important to review the vehicle history report, because it can provide you with important information that should not be ignored. A paid service like Carfax will tell you if the car has been involved in an accident, if there have been specific recalls, or previous issues.

It is also important for you to talk with the current owner and try to get as much information as possible about the condition of the vehicle. 

Engine condition and items under the hood

The engine is the most important part of your vehicle. Make sure you spend a couple of minutes checking the engine and surrounding areas. Any car leaking fluids is generally a red flag for a needed repair. Any type of black fluid might be an indicator of leaking oil, while green, yellow or pink fluid may indicate a leak in antifreeze and reddish fluid could be a transmission leak. 

Spend some time looking for hidden rust in components. 

Check the frame of the vehicle

Walk around the vehicle. Is the car sitting level on the ground? Is there anything hanging below? It is always good to familiarize yourself with the car’s frame because it will be easier to check the bolts or warping that could indicate a recent accident. 

Tire condition

Another way to check the general condition of the vehicle is by checking the tire tread. The tire tread should be worn evenly. If you find uneven tread, it might indicate steering, suspension, or frame issues. 

Mileage

Always consider the vehicle mileage to make an offer on the car. However, it is important to understand that high mileage is not necessarily a bad thing. 

Consider the following: A car with high mileage may be riskier because there are certain components and engine parts that don’t last forever. However, if the owner has kept up with maintenance and taken care of any issues, the car may have a lot of life left in it.

Electronics.

Test the radio, air conditioning, and any button available for you in the interior. This is a simple way to make sure the electronic components in the vehicle are working.

Interior, seats, fabric.

Watch out for tears, stains, and cracked leather. It is important to understand that upholstery can be a very expensive repair.

Full mechanical inspection

A mechanic may be able to detect issues that you didn’t uncover, so consider having the car inspected by a professional.

It is not a free service, but it could save a lot of money in the long run, especially if you are serious about getting the car. It is always prudent to do your due diligence before spending a lot of money.

Lights

Test the lights of the vehicle. Lights are normal wear items that require periodic inspection and replacement. The vehicle lighting system provides nighttime visibility; signals and alerts other drivers; and supplies light for viewing instruments and the vehicle’s interior.

Test drive

This is one of the most important steps! Make sure to plan your route beforehand so you can have the chance to test its maneuverability, acceleration, braking, and suspension. If possible, take it on the highway. 

It is also important to try parking the vehicle.  That way, you can check back up cameras, sensors, and blind spots. 

Following these tips may help you choose a used car that meets your needs and fits your budget. Knowing what to look for and consider can help you make an informed decision about your next vehicle. Happy car hunting!

CategoryLegal Advice
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