Each year, about 40 million used vehicles get sold in the United States. Many consumers agree that buying a used car is a wise decision—but only if you approach it with care.
When you buy a new vehicle, your car depreciates the instant you drive it off the lot. This gives a powerful incentive to shop for a used car instead. However, when you buy a used car, you also run the risk of finding unforeseen issues with your car once it’s too late to turn back.
How can you reduce this risk and buy your used car with peace of mind? The answer lies in knowing the things to check when buying a used car.
Read on for our detailed guide on how to check a used car so you’ll be happy with your purchase for years to come.
You probably know the mileage of a used car you’re thinking about buying. But what does that number really mean?
Every year, people in the United States drive their cars about 13,000 miles, on average. To see if a used car has an average amount of mileage, you can divide the total number of miles on it by the age of the car in years. The higher the mileage, the more worn-out the car will be.
Another quick and easy way to assess a used car is simply to look at the exterior.
While not all issues will be visible on the outside, a very worn exterior is a sign of a car that hasn’t been well maintained. This can hint at other hidden problems with the vehicle.
Look for chipped paint, rust, large dents, and other significant issues. It’s normal for a used car to have a few scratches or dings, but it shouldn’t look seriously worn.
Another important thing to check when buying a used car is the condition of the tires.
The tires may not seem all that important. After all, if the car’s a good deal, replacing the tires might seem like a small task. But the tires can actually tell you a lot about the condition of the car.
For example, if the tires or tread aren’t worn evenly, the car might be out of alignment. This can suggest bigger underlying issues with the frame, suspension, or steering.
Of course, you should also go for a test drive to see how the used car feels on the road.
Find out how easy it is to steer the car. Get a feel for the acceleration and braking. Try the car on curves, highways, and any conditions you’ll ordinarily drive it in.
You may even want to parallel park the car to make sure you can live with its blind spots.
How to Remember the Things to Check When Buying a Used Car
It’s easy to understand the importance of these things to check when buying a used car. However, remembering this list in the moment may not be so easy.
Don’t worry—you don’t have to memorize what to look for in a used car by yourself. You can enlist the services of a trusted mechanic to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
Shopping for used cars in the St. Joseph or Urbana area? Contact us today to get that car looked at before you write the check!