Buying a used car is a great option for many people. A used car costs thousands of dollars less than a brand-new one, so buying a used one is a no-brainer for anyone who is on a tight budget or wants to save money. There are a number of quality used cars available, and the right used car can last for years.
However, almost everyone has heard at least one horror story about buying a used vehicle. No one wants to deal with a used car that is a money pit due to constant repairs, or a used vehicle that stops running altogether shortly after it is purchased.
Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself when buying a used car. For example, getting an auto warranty is very smart when you buy a used car.
Use the following tips to help you find the right used vehicle to purchase.
Invest in an Extended Auto Warranty
As mentioned, purchasing an extended auto warranty is wise when you buy a used car.
One of the biggest perks of buying a brand-new car is the fact that it comes with a manufacturer’s warranty.
Unfortunately, many used cars are not under warranty, or the warranty is close to expiring.
Purchasing an extended auto warranty is an easy way to protect yourself when you buy a used car.
You will have peace of mind knowing that you won’t have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars if the used car that you buy needs expensive repairs.
Do Ample Research Before Buying a Used Car
When you’re on a tight budget, it is not uncommon to focus more on the price of a used car instead of the vehicle itself.
But, don’t make the mistake of selecting a used car based on price alone. It is important to do ample research before you begin searching for a used car to buy.
Doing research will help you identify used makes/models that are within your price range.
There are some makes/models from different years that are known for major problems.
The last thing that you want is to spend your hard-earned money on a used make/model that is well-known for having engine or transmission issues.
Likewise, there are some cars that have a very low reliability score.
Taking the time to research will help you avoid buying a used vehicle that may cause you nothing but frustration in the future.
Try to Find a Used Vehicle that Includes Maintenance Records
Two used cars can be the same make/model/year and have similar mileage, but that doesn’t mean that they are in the same condition.
A used car that has been properly maintained is much less likely to develop problems than one that has been neglected.
This is why opting to buy a used car that has maintenance records available is a smart idea.
Being able to review maintenance records can give you peace of mind knowing that the used car you are considering buying is in good mechanical shape.
The availability of maintenance records will also give you a clear picture of when the car needs to be serviced again.
Review the Vehicle History Report
Never buy a used vehicle without reviewing the vehicle history report.
If you opt to buy a used car from a dealership, a copy of the vehicle report will usually be supplied upon request.
But, if you’re buying from a private party, you can order a vehicle report for a nominal fee if you have the vehicle identification number.
A vehicle history report will tell you if a used car has been in one or more accidents.
It will also show if the car has a salvage title, or if the vehicle has been flooded.
If you find red flags on a vehicle history report, it is often in your best interest to walk away and find a different vehicle to purchase.
Hire a Mechanic to Perform a Comprehensive Inspection
It is a great feeling to find a used car that you really like and also fits your budget.
However, before anything is signed and any money exchanges hands, you should hire a reputable mechanic to do a comprehensive inspection of the vehicle.
You will have to pay for the inspection out of pocket, but the price is usually affordable, and an inspection is well worth the money.
During a pre-purchase inspection of a used vehicle, a mechanic will carefully look at everything to determine the overall condition of the car.
If a mechanic returns a good inspection report, the used vehicle is most likely in good working condition and shouldn’t give you any problems if you properly maintain it.
Having a used car inspected by a mechanic before you buy it can be the difference between purchasing a quality vehicle or a nightmare car that will be in and out of the shop for repairs.