What to Check Before Buying a Used Car

Opting to purchase a used car instead of a brand-new one is a great way to save yourself a bundle of money. However, buying a secondhand vehicle can turn into a major regret if you don’t do your research before making the purchase. Keep reading to learn what to check for when buying a used car:

  • Vehicle history: You want to know the background of the used car before making a purchase. Services like Carfax can give you tons of information about the used car, including whether it’s been in any accidents or there are any liens on it.
  • Rust or paint damage: Take a walk around the car to look for any visual flaws. Some minor rust or paint damage shouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker because it’s an easy fix.
  • Under the hood: You can’t neglect the engine in terms of what to check for when buying a used car. Pop the hood and check for any signs of fluid leaks, corrosion or cracked hoses and belts.
  • Tire condition: The tread wear on all four tires should be even. Any uneven tread could indicate poor alignment, which can cost a pretty penny to correct once you’ve purchased the vehicle.
  • Mileage: High-mileage vehicles often have more wear and tear and can break down much more frequently. The average driver puts about 14,000 miles on their vehicle each year. To see if the car has too many miles on it, divide the number on the odometer by the vehicle’s age.
  • Heat and AC: A properly functioning heater and air conditioner are musts to keep you comfortable during your commute. Crank the heat and then the AC to verify that they’re both in working order.
  • Upholstery: Wear and tear on the seats and interior fabric doesn’t make the vehicle drive any worse. However, upholstery is still on our list of what to inspect for when buying a second-hand vehicle. Think twice about buying a car with beat-up upholstery.
  • Test drive: It doesn’t matter if you’re buying new or used—you always need to take the vehicle out for a test drive. Put the car through the wringer to test for acceleration, braking and maneuverability. You should also take it out onto the highway to ensure it’s stable and smooth at higher speeds.
  • Mechanic inspection: If possible, we recommend bringing the vehicle in question to a mechanic for an inspection before signing any documents. A trained professional can identify any problems you may have missed while inspecting the items above.

Let us inspect your vehicle

Let our pros at Pat Doll Automotive LLC take a look under the hood the next time you’re in the market for a used vehicle. We know everything there is to know about what to inspect for when buying a secondhand vehicle, so you can trust we’ll spot any issues right away.

Schedule an appointment today to get a used vehicle inspection, or bring your current vehicle in for routine maintenance to squeeze a little bit more life out of it.