Buying a Used Car
Tips for Buying a Used Car
Check for any Vehicle Recalls
A quick Google search can help keep you informed on common recalls of the vehicle. You can use a free tool like this one on cars.com which allows you to put in exact vehicle years, makes, and models to do a quick search of recalls. When you have a few vehicles picked out, you can easily call the owners and ask them if they have had the recalls performed. If so, they likely had the recalls performed at the dealership (since those are free) and you can likely call the dealer to verify.
Ask for Maintenance Records
If the owner has maintenance records, that would be very helpful and it might even be worth paying a little more for a vehicle that comes with service records. If a vehicle has maintenance records, that likely means that the owner took better care of the vehicle in general. If the service was done at an independent shop, feel free to call the shop and ask their input, or take a look at their reviews and website to make sure it’s a legitimate shop that has experience with foreign cars.
The In-Person Inspection:
Ask for the owner to leave the car cold before you go to look at it – this is very important. Let the owner know you would like to hear the car start up and warm up to operating temperature.
Give it a Thorough Visual Inspection
Look at the vehicle for anything obvious on any of the outside panels. Depending on what year you’re looking at, and where you’re looking. There will likely be some wear and tear on the front and rear bumpers from debris, and if the car is driven in the city there may be a little more wear and tear from city driving. Small dents and dings along the door panels may mean the vehicle was serviced at a somewhat dirty shop or has spent a lot of time in a high traffic environment. Any panels with alternate colors or swirls in the paint may indicate the vehicle has been in an accident and repaired. You can also check the CarFax report to see if there was anything recorded.
Open the Hood While the Vehicle is Running
Listen to the sound of the engine as it warms up. There shouldn’t be any ticking or knocking sounds. If you hear any ticking or knocking sounds, take the car into a reputable mechanic.
Bring it in to a Reputable Mechanic
The best way to ensure the car you’re looking at is in good mechanical shape is to bring it into a reputable mechanic like J&Z Garage. For a low price, we can give it a thorough inspection and let you know the condition of the vehicle and what it may need. This may also allow you to negotiate the price and get a car that’s refreshed and ready for its new owner.