How to check a used car
The search for the right used car can be stressful — you wonder if you’re really getting a good deal, whether the vehicle you’re purchasing is going to stand the test of time, if there’s a secret previous history of damages that will come back to haunt you… no doubt about it, there’s plenty to be concerned about on the secondary auto market. That said, there are some tried and true ways to make the process less harrowing — or maybe even enjoyable. As with so many things, it’s about coming in to the situation prepared and knowledgeable. Today we want to offer how some basic tips for how to check a used car and feel confident with your decision to buy.
To start, you want to do your homework before ever taking a look at the car. Look for models with a good reputation for reliability in the long term, and make sure to request a detailed vehicle history from any private seller or dealer (the latter of which will definitely be able to provide that for you, and the former certainly should) so you can be aware of previous repairs as well as how well the vehicle has been maintained.
As for the exterior, you’re looking the car over for dents, scratches, rust, and other blemishes. Check that all the lights are working, and look at the wear and tear on the tires. If you see a lot of wearing down on the outside shoulder of the front tires, this could be a sign that the previous owner was an aggressive one, and there could be more repercussions from that down the road.
Inside, you’re checking for wear and tear on the upholstery, smells (musty is bad and could be hard if not impossible to get rid of), and condition of the pedal rubber (if it’s super worn down on a lower mileage car that’s another sign of rough driving that may mean the car has “aged” more than it should of during its previous ownership).
When in doubt, try to bring a knowledgeable friend or even hire your own mechanic to come look at the car for you. The last thing you want are nasty (and expensive) surprises once the title’s in your name.
Now, not to be terribly obvious, but one thing you can do if you’re looking for a late model is to buy Certified Pre-Owned. Doing so will take the entire inspection process off your hands and instead you’ll receive a full report and extensive warranty to back up the stamp of quality. Interested? Check out our Certified Pre-Owned selection at Holiday Mazda.