With the average price of a new vehicle topping $36,000, it makes more sense to buy a quality used car or truck. However, when buying a used vehicle, you have to more research to ensure you are getting a quality vehicle for the price. Below, we have listed 8 important steps you should take when buying a used vehicle.
1. Research the vehicle’s fair price
Once you have decided what vehicle you would like to purchase, you will want to know the fair value price of the vehicle. Helpful free guides can be found online such as Kelly Blue Book and Cars.com. The price of the vehicle will vary by the mileage and the condition of the car. For instance, if the vehicle has low mileage, then you can expect to pay more for the vehicles.
2. Read the vehicle’s long-term reviews
You can find a number of long-term reviews of any vehicle online. You will want to check for any common major repairs of the vehicle during the first three or four years of ownership. Also, check for a history of recalls, crash test ratings and overall customer satisfaction with the vehicle.
3. Get the vehicle’s history report
Once you have found the specific vehicle, you will want to get a history of that vehicle. All you need is the vehicles VIN number. You can usually find the VIN number on the driver’s side corner of the windshield where the glass meets the dashboard. If you cannot find the VIN number there, then you can check inside the driver’s side door post. If you are considering a private sale, ask the vehicle’s owner for the VIN number. From there, you can get a Carfax report which will give a complete history of the vehicle including crashes, recalls major repairs and ownership history.
4. Carefully inspect the vehicle’s interior and exterior
Once you have checked out the vehicle’s history, you will then want to inspect the vehicle for yourself. First, inspect the vehicle’s exterior to see if there any major dents or blemishes. Check to see if the front and rear headlights are working and check the condition of the tires. On the inside of the vehicle, you will want to check the wear on the seats as well as the condition of the electronics.
5. Go for a test drive
After inspecting the vehicle, you will want to go on a test drive. Check for noises as the vehicle accelerates and breaks. Also, check how well the vehicle accelerates into traffic and how well the vehicle turns.
6. Check for leaks
After you have taken the vehicle for the test drive, check to see if the vehicle is leaking any oil or other liquids. You will want to look under the vehicle and monitor for leaks for at least a couple of minutes after driving it.
7. Check for any repairs
Minor repairs may not be on the Carfax report. So you may want to check for any minor repairs done by the owner. Common repairs are usually done around the bumper area and around the doors where dings and small dents are common.
8. Have a mechanic inspect the vehicle
After you have checked out the vehicle for yourself, you will want to take the used car to a garage to have a mechanic do a full inspection. A mechanic will have a dealer level scan tool that can check every mechanical and computer component on the vehicle. The mechanic can also visually inspect the vehicle, at an expert level, to let you know every that needs to be known about the vehicle.