What to look for when buying a used car

When buying a used car you have just one shot to get a good deal. If you miss, you will end up regretting the purchase for the length of your lease. If you know what to look for when buying a used car, you can decrease the chances of regret. A third party mechanic, for instance, is always a good idea, but if you can’t make use of one there are some things you can search for on your own.

First, check out the engine. It and the transmission are the most costly to repair. The engine is also the most important part of the car because if it breaks, the car isn’t going anywhere. The point of a car is to go places, so your purchase becomes useless if the engine gives. Make note of how the engine looks and make note of the condition of the belts. Then make note of how the engine sounds. Check if a puff of smoke comes out the back when the engine starts up. That should not happen in a car that is newer then twenty years.

Next, check the exterior of the car. Dents may be hidden so use a keen eye. There may also be damage to the paint job or a bad attempt to repair prior damage. Also check for rust. Rust in the door or trunk hinges can cause considerable trouble. Make sure to test the bumper as well. If the bumper is loose, it means the car has been in an accident. 

The odometer is also very important. A car’s mileage is a window to its remaining life. Don’t pay more then you should for a very used vehicle. If you have any question about the car’s true mileage, walk away. While you’re looking at the dash board, make sure to note the oil pressure and temperature gauges are satisfactory as well.

Test the tread depth. If it is bad, you will need to get new wheels. Don’t overpay for wheels that will need to be replaced soon or immediately. Tires are expensive and you need four of them. Don’t buy anything above a 2/32 tread depth. 

Lastly, check for leaks. A leak could be serious or not, but they will need attention regardless. You should use the estimated repair costs as a bargaining chip with the seller, or if it’s not worth it you should walk away. Don’t let the seller pressure you into buying a bad car. Especially if you are young, a seller will try to make you pay a high price for a low quality car that will cost even more in repairs.