Practical Checklist when Purchasing a Used Vehicle
Let this checklist serve as your guide when shopping for a used car.
America’s used car market is expected to grow by about 2% between 2018 and 2022. More car buyers are realizing the advantage and practicality of buying a pre-owned vehicle over a brand new one.
You can’t expect such cars to run as perfectly as their brand-new counterparts, but you can spare yourself from the usual remorse by being more meticulous. If you don’t mind driving a car with a history and you want to save on costs, let this checklist serve as your guide when shopping for a used car.
Reasonable price tag
The best reason to buy a used car is a limited budget. But don’t take this too far. You wouldn’t want to buy the cheapest units out there that would otherwise head to the junk shop. Used vehicles with cheaper price tags often come with higher mileage. Remember that most car components usually start to wear out when the vehicle reaches the 37,000-mile mark.
You may need to subject the used car to an extensive check-up or some parts may need to be replaced. Therefore, when buying a used car, look beyond the price tag and consider the possible cost of refurbishing.
Run a thorough check
You have the right to subject the used vehicle to meticulous inspection. Inspect the exteriors in broad daylight and look for spots, which may indicate efforts to cover dings and scratches. Are the locks on all doors and the trunk working properly?
“You have the right to subject the used vehicle to meticulous inspection.”
Check out what’s under the hood using a dipstick test. To check the engine condition, start the car to check the sound and the color produced by the exhaust. Check under the car to see if there is any leakage of liquid from the engine—leaked oil may indicate damaged oil seals or a degraded engine.
It is a mortal sin to buy a car without test driving it first—whether you are buying a new or especially a used vehicle. Don’t fully rely on the assurance of the sales agent or seller, who is far more concerned about disposing of the unit sooner. Set an appointment for a test drive and spend enough time to test the merchandise before giving up your hard earned money.
“It is a mortal sin to buy a car without test driving it first.”
Here are some important tips to observe when test driving a used car. Turn the steering wheel on full left and right, while carefully listening for any tugging sound, which could indicate steering problems. Do a full-throttle acceleration to check if strange noises are created while doing so, which on the other hand indicate engine or transmission issues. Simulate a panic stop to test the brakes.
Check for loose joints by driving through a hump a little faster. Double check the gears, sensors, side mirrors, and windows. If you are not confident enough about your car expertise, it will be a good idea to hire and bring along a qualified mechanic to help you do all the checking during the test drive and inspection.
Negotiating a fair price
After doing all these, you may decide to move on and find another used car to buy or proceed. If you choose the latter, it’s time to negotiate for a bargain. Create a list of all the flaws you found and present it to the seller to justify your cause to ask for a lower price tag. Keep a cool head while negotiating and avoid heated arguments, they are likely not worth the trouble.