Making the decision to buy a used car over a new model can be a great way to save yourself a lot of money, while still managing to get a vehicle that will last you and your family a long time. That said, if you don’t know what to look for when visiting your local used car dealerships, buying pre owned cars can also be a good way to waste money and buy a vehicle that’s more dangerous than anything else. Make sure your purchase falls into the former category by learning to look for the most common mechanical issues among pre owned cars.
Three of the Most Common Mechanical Problems with Pre Owned Cars
- Invisible Rust
- Computer “Errors” Turning on Warning Lights
- Leaking or Burning Oil
As the VINny Blog, a popular online guide to buying used vehicles, writes, you really need to be on the lookout for rust. This doesn’t mean the rust you can see, but that which your dealer has taken steps to hide. Fresh or off color paint in certain areas is a great way to spot when rust has been painted over. If you really want to protect yourself, get down on the ground and look under the vehicle to make sure the guts aren’t rusted out. You may get a little dirty now, but it’s better than being completely dead later.
It’s quite common for used cars to have some sort of computer error that illuminates the lights on the dashboard when there isn’t really any problem. In order to be sure that you’re purchasing a car that likely just needs a sensor replacement, you should insist that your dealer uses a code checker — in front of you — to show you that there isn’t actually anything wrong with the hardware of the vehicle beyond the computer.
Especially if you’re buying an older truck or car, writes Cars Direct, leaking and burning oil should be a real concern. Used car dealerships are keenly aware of the issue, too. Rather than do the right thing and fix the problem, many disreputable dealers take steps to hide the issue until the car is permanently off their lot. To spot these cover ups, you’ll again need to get down on your hands and knees. If you see a sheet of cardboard taped beneath the oil pan, chances are the vehicle has a leak and your dealer is trying to hide it. The cardboard is a makeshift way to keep the oil from dripping onto the ground where you can see it.
If you consider yourself one of the reputable second hand car dealers, what are some of the things you think people should be aware of when buying pre owned cars? Don’t be shy. Share your thoughts in the comments below. More.