What to look for when buying a used car

Updated: Aug 3

If you have been looking for a car post pandemic, you know how difficult it's been. With the shortage of car microchips, the options have been slim and the prices extremely high. A new car can take anywhere from two weeks to a few months to get. Therefore now more than ever a used vehicle seems more appealing. Although when purchasing a used car there’s a few things to keep in mind before deciding to buy.

Here is a list of things to check before purchasing a used car:

1. Assess the Car

This may seem like an obvious task but it takes a lot more than a once over. You’ll need to check both the interior and exterior thoroughly.

2. Exterior Checks

First off, you are going to want to check the body of the car for any dings, scratches, dents, or marks of rust. You’ll also want to ensure that there are no cracks in any of the glass on the car. Ensure the suspension, lights, and tires are all in workable condition.

3. Interior Checks

Make sure the car doesn't have any strange odors. That the pedals, instruments, controls, trunk and sound systems work properly.

4. Engine Checks

You need to ensure that all hoses work correctly, no belts are worn or in need of changes and that the radiator works correctly.

5. Check for fluid leaks

If the car is leaking fluid at all, that is usually a red flag. Black fluid indicates an oil leak. Green, yellow, pink or white fluid usually is indicative of an antifreeze issue. Red fluid means there is an issue with transmission or power steering fluid. Therefore any liquid at all is not a good sign.

5. Take it for a Test Drive

This is probably one of the best ways to determine whether a car is in good condition or not. The first thing you’ll want to do is turn the key so that the car is in accessory mode. This should show all the warnings lit up, if not you may want to ask for that to be repaired before purchasing it. If you ever have an accident you need to know that your car will indicate any issues.

6. Check the mileage

You may be inclined to think that a low mileage means that the car is good but it could also just mean the car isn't used a lot. If it is not frequently used, this could cause the rubber and plastic parts of a car to dry out or get brittle. This could mean the car needs numerous repairs and reconditioning. The most important thing to consider when looking at mileage is the maintenance and usage overall of the car.

7. Have it checked by a mechanic

This is a smart move due to the fact that these are individuals who are constantly scrutinizing and fixing cars. The dealership you are purchasing should have no issues with you doing so.

8. Check the Cars VIN number

The cars VIN number can show any recalls on the car or if any repairs are needed due to safety calls.

9. Consider a certified pre-owned

When picking a used car, you may want to consider a certified pre-owned vehicle. This means it is a used vehicle which a dealership has inspected and deemed drivable. The other bonus you get from purchasing a car this way is the dealership usually offers a warranty on the car as well.

As accident attorneys, we feel it is our responsibility to ensure that you are aware of what to look for when buying a vehicle. We want to ensure that it is a safe vehicle, equipped with all the necessary features. If the car is missing something or has a needed repair this can result in an accident or serious injury.

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