We all know that finding the best used car doesn’t have anything to do with how lucky you are – it’s all about doing due diligence and doing your research and making sure to give the vehicle a thorough check, both on the inside and the outside.
But if you know what to look for and what to expect, you shouldn’t have too hard a time deciding on the best used car for your needs. You have to know how to spot prospective problems or issues in the car you’re interested in, and you also have to determine how reliable the vehicle is in the long term.
But what else should you think about when assessing a used car so you can make the proper decision in the end? Here’s how you can best choose a used car: the essential aspects to check.
Check out the window sticker
One of the first things to do when examining a used car is to check out the window sticker. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requires dealerships to post a ‘buyer’s guide’ on a used vehicle for sale, usually placed on the window, and this sticker should include certain info such as whether it is being sold with a warranty or ‘as is’ and the percentage of the cost of repair the dealer is required to pay (if any).
If the buyer’s guide states that the car comes with a warranty, the dealer is required to follow this – and if there are any changes in the car’s coverage once you have negotiated it, the dealer should alter the buyer’s guide to reflect this as well.
If a vehicle is for sale ‘as is’, this means that the dealership doesn’t make any guarantee as to its condition, so if there are any problems with it once you have purchased it, the problem is your responsibility.
Assess the exterior
When you are checking the car’s exterior, start by walking around the vehicle and looking for chipped or cracked paint, dents, mismatched parts or panels, broken or cracked windows, and broken housings, as recommended by one of the best car dealerships in Utah, Young Automotive.
If there are any gaps between the panels, they should be consistent and line up properly. If there is any paint over-sprayed on the rubber trim or chrome of the car, this could be a sign of repair on the body panel. Check for any welds on the trunk, doors, and hood, especially if they are inconsistent – this could be a sign of repair as well.
Assess the interior
Next, take a look at the cabin of the vehicle. Make sure to note any problems such as a cracked dashboard, a sagging or decrepit headliner, missing buttons, knobs, or handles, and more. If the seat belts appear frayed or have melted threads or fibers, this could indicate a previous impact at the front.
If the pedals are worn (even if the vehicle is relatively new), this could indicate high mileage as well, and if a warning light for the airbag stays on, this could mean that the bag has already been deployed and hasn’t been properly replaced.
Check for mildew smells as this can also be hard to remove, and if there is any silt in the car’s trunk or carpeting which is discolored, this could be a sign of damage from flooding.
Of course, other things to check would be under the hood, the tires, the steering, the tailpipe, the suspension, and the gas, so if you aren’t that sure about how to check these parts and components, it’s best to have an independent mechanic check it for you. Good luck!
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