So you have decided that you are going to buy a car, but don’t want to pay the astronomical prices for a new one.
The only problem is, you don’t know where to begin. Can I trust a used car? What if I spent a big enough amount of money ($1000 to $5000) for a piece of crap.
I am with you about spending good money on vehicles that end up having half the shelf life that it should have had.
And while no one can guarantee that you won’t be unlucky for there are still the odd LEMONS out there for sale, there are a few things you can look out for that will help your odds.
Here is a top 10 of things you might want to look for before you commit to buying a used car.
You might be thinking by now. Why should I trust you? A blog in the middle of nowhere. Well you have a point, but I conferred with a great authority on the subject. My husband, who just so happens to BE a mechanic.
So in no particular order, here are a top 10 things to look for when looking for a new/used car.
- Make sure the kilometers are low. Our general rule is under 100K for newer cars. They make them to last now. If the car is 10 years old and has only 10K, that might be a red flag on its own. I would say the sweet spot would be between 40 and 80K.
- Check Car Fax or other car checking apps to find out if the car has had accidents.
- Check for frame rot on the car. Many vehicles look fantastic on the outside because of repainting etc.. while the body of the car is slowly rotting from the inside out. Never judge a book or a car by it’s cover.
- Check for any leaks (obvious) and that everything works on the car i.e. wipers, lights, a/c etc…
- Check for any weird sounds. How does the car act when it’s running.
- Check for smells. Some people allow pets in the vehicles or food gets forgotten and left in the car indefinitely. This could be an added cost and some smells may linger regardless of what you do.
- Check with your insurance to see how much it would cost to insure the vehicle. It might surprise you how much some cars insure for.
- Check online reviews for the car make and year. You can be real surprised by what you find. One car we had needed to have the timing chain changed every 100K and we almost bought one that had never been changed at 120K. This may let you know of possible expenses you may have in the future.
- Make sure to take the car out for a test drive (this goes without saying) but there are other factors that you may not like other than the obvious how does it run. You may not like the way you are seated, or the way it feels running down the road, you are going to have this for a while, make sure it’s a fit.
- If you have no mechanical skills, find a friend who does and bring them with you. Offer them something for their time and effort and make sure it’s generous. A good mechanic who can warn you off bad vehicles is worth his weight in gold, or your time in a garage!
Here is our top 10 we posted on our YT channel. Make sure to follow us there for How To’s and Reviews of all kinds.