Want to save yourself some money the next time you have to buy a car?
Consider purchasing a used car as opposed to a new one. You could potentially save thousands of dollars while still getting your hands on a car that’s in a great condition.
But prior to making the decision to go in this direction, there are some things to know before buying a used car. The last thing you want to do is agree to buy a used car only to find that it’s not in the kind of condition you were expecting.
Here are 10 things you should know before you take ownership of a used vehicle.
1. How Many Miles Are on the Car?
One of the things to know before buying a used car is how many miles are on it. If a car has too many miles on it, you’re probably going to want to steer clear of buying it.
Take a look at the odometer of a car to see how many miles have been put on it over the years. While a well-maintained car can last for well over 100,000 miles and, in some cases, even over 200,000 miles, it’s rare to find a car with that many miles on it that’s in great shape.
2. How Many People Have Owned It in the Past?
The more owners that a used car has had in the past, the more mystery there will be surrounding it. You’ll likely never be able to find out how well a car was maintained when it was new if it’s had four or five owners at this point.
Ideally, you want to find a used car that has only had one owner. That owner will be able to provide you with all the information you need to know about a car, including how often it has been maintained and whether or not it has ever been involved in a major accident before.
3. Has It Ever Been Involved in a Major Accident?
Speaking of being involved in a major accident, you should always obtain a vehicle history report for any used car before buying it. It’ll let you know if the vehicle has ever been involved in accidents in the past.
Even if all of the necessary repairs were made to a vehicle that was involved in an accident, there’s still a chance the accident could play a role in the future well-being of the car. It’s usually best to stay away from buying used cars that have been damaged during an accident.
4. Has It Been Maintained on a Regular Basis?
Before you drop thousands of dollars on a used car, try to find out if it’s been maintained regularly. That’ll let you know that you won’t have to worry about doing a ton of maintenance on it yourself to bring it up to speed.
It’ll also let you know that the previous owner (or owners) took good care of the car and did their part to extend the life of it. You’ll feel better investing in a car that has been maintained properly.
5. What Kind of Condition Is It in Right Now?
If you know your way around cars, pop the hood on the one you want to buy and inspect it carefully. Gauge what kind of condition it’s in based on what you’re able to find.
If you aren’t knowledgeable about cars, call on a mechanic to inspect a used car for you. They can either give you the all-clear on it or let you know about something that looks off to them.
6. How Does It Drive?
You should always, always, always take a used car for a test drive before buying it. It’ll give you a much better idea of how the car drives and what issues it could potentially have.
Doing something as simple as starting the car up will show you if you have anything to worry about. Once you do that, take it for a quick spin and put it to the test to make sure it feels comfortable to you.
7. Is It Priced Right?
Most people purchase used cars as opposed to new ones to save themselves money. So make it a point to check to see if the used car you want is priced right.
Resources like Kelley Blue Book will allow you to take a look at what a used car is worth. Use them to negotiate a fair price for a vehicle.
8. Will It Need Any Repairs or Service Done to It Soon?
Do your research on the specific make and model of the car you want to buy to see what problems other owners have faced at certain mileage points.
By doing this, you’ll be able to see when you can expect to make certain repairs and seek certain services for a vehicle. It’ll prevent you from buying a used car at right around the time when it usually needs to have repairs and services done.
9. How Much Will Parts for It Cost?
Browse around to see how much replacement parts for a used vehicle will run you down the road.
Some foreign cars have parts that are very expensive. It could put you in a tough spot later, even if you’re able to get the car for a great price now.
Finding out the price of replacement parts is almost as important as finding out the price of the used car. Check it out prior to purchasing a used car.
10. How Long Is It Likely Going to Last?
If you’re getting a used car for a steal of a price, you might not mind that it’s only going to last you a year or two. But if you need the vehicle for the foreseeable future, you can’t afford to buy something that’s on its last legs.
See how long the car you want to buy has typically lasted for others. This should give you some idea of how long it will last for you if you care of it.
Always Keep These Things to Know Before Buying a Used Car in Mind
These are just some of the things to know before buying a used car. They’ll help you figure out if a car is ultimately right for you.
Work your way through each question and find out the answer to it before moving to the next one. If you have trouble finding an answer about a car, that particular car might not be your best option.
Check out our blog for more information about buying used vehicles.