You had your eyes on a specific car model several years ago, but your budget wouldn’t let you. And now, you see that vehicle on display in a local car dealership showroom at a depreciated price. You presently have the means to buy it, but you want to make sure you’re not getting a lemon. Most people opt for second-hand cars which can be a financially smart move, but it is surely not wise to buy one on a whim.
Do some research first, and make sure to take into account the following before making that purchase:
1. Car Model and Make
If the vehicle you thought of buying is already five or ten years old and it is something that you want to hold on to for a long time, then it is worth checking out its remake, if there is any. They usually come with better designs, function, and features and are probably selling at a minimal difference in price. Don’t be too reserved on asking other people you know who have owned or are driving the same car that you’re eyeing. Check out the internet for comparative reviews of similar types from other brands and visit some used car dealerships.
Engine and other car parts are only designed to last so long, so the higher the number on the odometer is, the more parts you will need to replace. The vehicle’s mileage is your best bet in knowing how used and depreciated the car is.
3. Safety features
The latest mobility report in Houston states that the number of vehicle crashes went up 14% in 2016. It is best to check the available safety features as older cars may not have the current, standard ones like airbags or anti-lock brakes. See also if the vehicle has the appropriate car seat fittings if you need to use either seat-belt based or Isofix-based child car seats.
4. Exterior and Interior
Assess the entire body form and check for signs of putty fillers and misaligned hood, trunk, and doors, as these are possible signs that the car got into an accident and underwent a major repair. Carefully inspect the exterior if there are scratches, dents, paint bubbles, or rust. Include the glass especially the windshield as there might be some cracks. Test the lights if they are all working.
Check the doors if they close smoothly or are loose on the hinges. If it is the latter, then it is a sign of hard use.
For the interior, check the condition of the roof, seats, pedals, controls, the air conditioning, and the instrument panel. Lift the floor carpet and check for signs of rust as this can indicate submersion in flood.
For the engine, radiator, batteries, wiring, and fluids, consider calling a mobile mechanic who can inspect the vehicle for you and provide you with an objective report. Don’t hesitate to ask for service records and even car history reports, if available. It will also help you find out how much you need to set aside in case there is a need for repairs.
After doing the necessary research and inspection, take the car for a test drive and make sure to pay attention to clanking sounds or strange noises. It seems like too much of a hassle but remember, the more information you can arm yourself with, the better the decision you will make.