When looking to buy a vehicle, buying a used car is almost always the smartest choice. However, as used cars aren’t brand new off the assembly line, there are a few things to check out before signing a lease.
Things You Should Check Before Buying A Used Car
- Interior and Exterior. When looking for the perfect used car, carefully examine the interior and exterior. Take note of any stains, scratches, dents, or rust that may impact resale value in the future. This can also help give you an idea of future repairs that you may need to foot the bill for. This isn’t to say that a small scratch or dent means the car is a bad deal, but you want to make sure any damage has been professionally repaired, or won’t impact the overall health of the vehicle. Take a peek under the hood and see how the major components are holding up. Even without mechanical training, rusted or distressed looking parts are easy to spot and can indicate issues in the near future.
- Test Drive. Whatever you do, never purchase a used car, or any car for that matter, without taking a test drive. Insist on taking it out, not only on lazy local streets, but also on the highway of possible. This allows you to see how the car runs at all manner of speeds. Additionally, don’t hesitate to slam on the brakes, and the parking brake. Make sure the vehicle has sufficient stopping power. Take note of any funny sounds, or movements while running. If you have any concerns bring them up to the dealer, and potentially request to view another car.
- Check for leaks. While on your test drive, park the car for a few seconds on a clean street, after which move it and check the street where it was parked. Seeing any green fluid may be a sign of an antifreeze leak, while pink fluid may indicate issues with the transmission. If you see any unusual fluid, request another vehicle.
- Mechanical Inspection. If you can, always have a mechanic look over the car before signing for it. There is an additional cost, but it can be well worth it. This can help you determine any potential problems, or parts that may need replacement in the future. They can also tell you how well the major components are functioning and if they will hold out for years to come without issue. Certified used cars are an option offered at many dealerships, and this title denotes to them having been inspected prior to sale. Certified cars may also come with a dealership warranty that can cover small repairs should something go wrong. If possible, look for used cars like this.
- Research The Car. Take a moment to go online and see what others are saying about the make and model you are considering. See how long they traditionally last, and what common issues they tend to have. This helps you make a more informed decision so you won’t end up with buyers remorse down the road.
- History. Another thing to never sign a lease without is the car history report. With this report you can see how many owners the vehicle has had, in addition to if it was involved in any accidents. If you notice a vehicle was involved in a front end collision, depending on the repairs, and how bad the impact was, it may be smart to look elsewhere.
- Take Some Time. The best way to avoid potential buyers remorse is to take you time to look at multiple options. Don’t simply drive off the lot with the first option you were shown. Even if this means going home and doing additional research, it can be well worth it for finding the perfect used car for you.