Purchasing a used car can seem like a frightening experience to those that don't know anything about cars. If you're such a person, don't panic. You can find a perfectly good used vehicle without an encyclopedic knowledge of automobiles. Here are a few ways to make sure your choice of used car is a good one.
1. Test Drive the Car
Don't fear the test drive. If the dealership or private owner allows for a test drive, you should do it. Even if they don't offer one, ask for one. One way to tell if the car has an obvious problem is to drive the car.
Don't wait until after the purchase, and don't let the owner or dealer take you for a ride while you sit in the passenger seat. Then again, that's fine too, as long as you also get your turn.
If possible, you should try to schedule the test drive during inclement weather, at night, or both. Knowing how a car performs in these conditions can help you a lot. At night, you can see if the lights are effective. During bad weather, you can see if there are any leaks and how it handles.
No matter when you take the test drive, you shouldn't just drive as normal.
- Try different speeds
- Mess with the controls
- Take the car onto different surfaces
- Test the brakes
Keep your senses tuned to how the car reacts when you make turns or accelerate. If anything makes you feel uncomfortable during the test drive, then you should question it. If you can't put your finger on why something made you feel uncomfortable, then maybe you should consider another vehicle.
2. Research the Car
They say that forewarned is forearmed. You should take some time out to research the car. There are several services that can run a report on a vehicle. That can give you the official service records for the vehicle.
The service records can tell you if the car has been involved in accidents. It can also tell you if the car has needed frequent repairs. These checks may not tell you everything you want to know, but they can show you patterns.
If you don't want to pay for such a service, you can also research the make and model. Some cars have a reputation for needing certain kinds of repairs, or for having certain problems. Do a search for the make and model, check forums and other places where you find people talking about the car.
You should also do a visual inspection of the car. Even if you don't know what you're looking at, you can still look for signs of rust, wear, and tear. A visual inspection is an important part of your research.
3. Choose Your Auto Dealer with Care
Knowing a little about the car and its history will allow you to ask better questions about the car. However, one of the best things you can do is to go to a dealership (like Auto Max) with good reviews, good service, and a track record of taking care of its customers.
A reputable dealer will make sure that you drive away in a vehicle that's not faulty, not dangerous, and definitely not a lemon. Research your car choices, research your dealer, and take test drives. You should still have an independent inspection, but even if you don't, these three steps should help you find a vehicle with no problems.