Look for These Top 10 Things The Next Time You Buy a Used Car

how to buy a used carBuying a used car doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. If you’re worried about buying a lemon or a car that simply isn’t right for your lifestyle, take the time to look at these ten things:

1. A Clean Car History Report

Before you buy a car, find out a little about it. How many owners has it had? Has it been in any accidents? What problems should you be aware of? The more red flags on its records, the more you should consider walking away, even if it seems like the car of your dreams.

2. An Even Cleaner Engine

It’s important for the car’s history to be clean, but it’s even more important for the engine to be clean. A fender bender is nothing to worry about as long as the engine is in pristine condition. Even if you know nothing about cars, pop the hood. Check the oil, especially for metal particles or any type of grit. If the oil is low, this can also be a problem, since it indicates that there may be a leak. Do a visual inspection, looking or signs that the engine is running too hot (like melting) or that it wasn’t well-maintained (visible grime and grease).


3. A Well-Maintained Interior

A car’s interior is indicative of how well the last owner maintained it. Almost every dealership will completely detail a car before putting it on the lot for sale, but you aren’t looking for crumbs and dust! Look for tears, stains, missing knobs, and other problems that will tell you that last owner didn’t really care about the car.

4. Large-Ticket Items That Have Been Recently Replaced

If you’ll need to throw more than a few hundred bucks into your car soon after you buy it, you might be better off with another vehicle. Look for big-ticket items, like tires and brakes that have been recently replaced, or negotiate their replacement before you buy.

5. An Even Paint Job

A paint job that is just a little off usually means there was body damage at some point. Not every ding or scratch will show up on an accident report, so your car’s history report doesn’t always tell the full story. Body damage doesn’t necessarily mean you should kiss the car goodbye, but it does mean you should ask more questions.

6. Working Heat and Air Conditioning

Many people forget to test out the heat during the summer and the air conditioning during the winter (or both during mild weather). Before buying a used car, make sure the temperature controls are working properly since they can be expensive and annoying to repair.

7. A Warranty

The best-case scenario is for your used car to come with at least a limited warranty. Depending on the age, price, and mileage of the car, it may be legally required for the dealer to give you a warranty. However, even if it’s not legally required, a warranty means that the dealership or private seller is standing behind the quality of the car as it is today, so as long as you treat it with care, you shouldn’t have any problems.

8. Enough Space for Your Family

People often regret purchasing cars that are too small. Yes, that two-door subcompact may have seemed like a great choice last year when all you cared about was gas mileage, but now that you have a baby on the way, a larger car or SUV makes more sense. Think about your family today and the family you foresee five to ten years from now, so you can grow into your vehicle without having to upgrade again.

9. Enough Space/Torque for Your Cargo

Do you haul a lot of big items like lumber, surfboards, or bikes? Or, do you need space for kids’ sports gear? Finally, do you commonly pull a trailer or camper? Make sure the vehicle you choose has enough room and torque for any item you regularly haul.

10. A Trusted Salesperson

Lastly, always look for a reputable salesperson, so you can buy a car from someone you trust. When you work with someone you trust, you don’t have to worry about your car breaking down in just a few weeks or being talked into a car you don’t really want. Here at Peters Auto Mall, we have an entire team of trustworthy salespeople who will walk you through the entire car buying process to help you find the perfect vehicle for your specific needs!