Tips FOR BUYING A Used / Preowned Car, Truck, Jeep or Van
And think ahead; maybe now, you can afford to pay a monthly payment of 400$ but what about next year, or the next?
Will you have money left each month after you pay all your bills?, and still have some left if some unforeseen expenses arise?
So, if you have not been scared yet, good for you!
Let’s stop talking about money, and start talking about how to choose a used car:
Do you have any model in mind?
Any preferred brand?
And don’t say I’m just looking for a cool shiny car! We won’t get too far if that’s the case, although the car salesman would be rubbing his hands.
You should look for a brand that has good reviews, reliability and good scores on security.
SUVs’ and luxury cars are very expensive to maintain, and they burn gas like it was water, so take that in account.
The best second hand cars are between 2 and 5 years, check the car’s maintenance sheets you want a car that has his oils changed regularly and that hasn’t gone through mayor repair issues.
How to check a used car
Check the general condition of the car, if it has rust don’t buy it, unless it comes from a scratch, rusty cars even if they are repaired, always has problems.
Don’t be put off by some scratches on the car; the important thing is that the car is in good mechanical condition, you can use the scratches to get the dealer to apply some discounts.
Check the interior of the car: if the seats and the driving wheel are worn out, it means that the car has been used a lot, check the air conditioner too see if it works, the CD player, the lights etc.
The mileage is important but not the most important thing, a good mileage for a used car is 10.000 miles per year.
Is the trunk in good condition? A worn out trunk is sign of a very used car.
If you find a car that’s only one or two years old, make sure you know where it comes from before buying it, people don’t sell cars so new without a reason, some have problems that the previous owner couldn’t live with or didn’t find a solution to, an insurance company write off, a car that’s been used by a lease company, so make sure you know what you getting into.
Open the hood and look inside.
Okay now we are looking at the engine, In this case the best thing would be, to have someone with mechanic knowledge to check the car for you, if you don’t have a mechanic friend, it’s about time to meet one, they are very useful! I’m kidding! Well, Maybe not,think about it.
You can always hire a mechanic to go with you to check the car; it’s going to be your car for a long time, so it’s a good idea, you can do this after you have visited some dealers and have a list of the automobiles you like.
The VIN number
Where were we? Oh yeah the open hood, Okay, first we have to look at the VIN number (the vehicle verification number)
it’s inside the car in the drivers side, in the windshield, you can see the number from outside the car.
That number has to match the one on the fender, and on the cars papers, the VIN numbers are located where the hood joins the car, usually in the middle, there has to be a metal piece with numbers, if it doesn’t match or if there’s no number on the fender, it means that car’s fender has been changed, could have been in an accident.
Check here for welding they could have change the fender, look at the bolts on the fender in the hood frame if there are scratches it could indicate that the fender could have been replaced due to a bad accident.
The hoses and belts of the engine shouldn’t have cracks, check the engine oil, if it’s too black it means the oil hasn’t been changed in a while, if it has a beige substance on the dipstick it could be a symptom of head gasket leakage.
If the engine parts are too clean it could mean they have cleaned it to disguise some leakage problems.
And if the engine is too dirty it may mean that it hasn’t been well maintained.
Now, close the hood and put some force in the frontal corner of the car and push it downwards, yeah do it, we are checking the suspension, the car has to bounce right up when you do this, it should bounce only once, if it keeps bouncing that would mean problems.
Look at the transmission dipstick; is the fluid red or pink colored? The correct answer is yes, if not, is not necessarily bad, but the dipstick should never be burned or smell like it was burned.
Now the timing belt, this is very important because if the timing belt breaks, it could cost you more than 500$ to replace it, so make sure that it has been replaced.
Check the service history of the car, see if it has been replaced, they usually have to be replaced from 60 to 100 thousand miles, so if the car you’re looking at, is inside that mileage ask about it, if the car doesn’t have that mileage yet, check the timing belt for signs of tears.
If the timing belt is a chain, then great, you don’t have to worry about it.
Check the treads there should be more 2 mm of treads depth on the tire, the sidewalls shouldn’t be damaged.
All the tires should be equally worn, if not, it could mean that they have suspension, tracking or steering wheel problems.
If the tires of the back or more worn out that the tires from the front, or vice verse, it could mean that the tires have been changed at different times.
Get behind the car and look at their alignment.
Inspection of the engine beneath the car
Kneel on the front and look under the engine, you should look at the guy front the dealership, If he’s not nervous after all the checks you done, it’s a good thing.
Look at the engine for any brown or black stains, but don’t you dare ask the seller:
“where is the engine?”
Because we lose the upper hand, he has to think you’re an expert on this, that you are capable of leaving him without a sell just because the car has a sticker you don’t agree with.
Anyway, there has to be no stains on the engine or nearby, because this could become an expensive fix in the future, the belts shouldn’t have cracks or be overly dry.
Check for frame damage, sometimes car have a bad accident, they save the half that has not been damaged and they weld it with another similar car half, so if there’s signs of welding, run away!!
You can get up now, but we are not done, let’s look at the oil filter cap, right were you put the gas on the car, it shouldn’t have a foamy substance, if it has, get away from that car it has a leakage.
Okay I think we are done, oh one more thing…
don’t ever buy a car that smells funny, well if it’s funny maybe is good, but never one that smells badly, you will never get the odor out of it.
f you live in the United States you could order a History report,to make sure your car hasn’t been in a car accident, all you need is the VIN number, there are some websites that sends you a report, it tells you if this car has mayor repairs, safety ratings, has been in an accident, they even check police records, etc.
Don’t forget to ask for the kind of warranty you are going to get.
Of course you have to pay, the most trusted one and cheapest, 7$ per car is NMVTIS, this website has been set up with the help of the federal government, because of the little information that other commercial sites like Carmax and Autocheck offered, so spending three times less you get a more accurate record.
haven’t tried it, so I can’t recommend it, but here’s the homepage so you can take a look:
After all this looking for used cars and following the advice for buying a car, you may think ” is it worth it ? ” well, yeah it is, you can find a good used car at a great price,after all new cars can turn out bad too. Tips FOR BUYING A Used / Preowned Car, Truck, Jeep or Van.