What Should You Look for when Buying a Used Car

What Should You Look for when Buying a Used Car?

Most people invest in a used car to replace the old one because they are relatively cheaper than new ones. You get an excellent deal and value for your money on a used car, but high risks.

How do you prove that the car you want to buy checks all the boxes the online ad said it does? Most used cars suffer from faster wear and tears, hence the need to exercise caution in the second-hand car market.

We have outlined a checklist to help you examine the used car if it is worth your investment.

With the right knowledge, you can find a jackpot of a car like winning the jackpot on Intertops casino bonus!

Note: Although used cars are cheaper, you may pay higher insurance premiums to cover various risks.

Examine the Vehicle’s History

What Should You Look for when Buying a Used Car

The law requires that car manufacturers give each car a unique VIN (vehicle identification number). This number has numerous information such as the manufacturer, country of origin, assembly plant, engine, body type, and model year embedded in it. The VIN will give helpful information about the vehicle’s history.

You can run the vehicle’s number on the free VINCheck site by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Alternatively, you can use other premium sites like AutoCheck or CarFax at a reasonable fee for additional historical information such as accident history, ownership history, type of use, and service history.

Paint Damage or Rust

Before signing the deal, take a walk around the car to establish if it has any dents, paint chips, or rusty spots. Investing in a used car involves a good amount of money, so you don’t want to overlook signs of rot. If you see places on the car that need a complete overhaul because it is rusted, you may want to reconsider and continue searching for a suitable used car.

Tire Conditions

Of course, a used car cannot have new tires unless the owner recently changed them in anticipation of making a sale. An adequately aligned used car should have evenly worn-out tires. If you notice that the tread on one has uneven wear or a few tires have extra wear, you know that car has poor alignment. You may find that the car has the frame, suspension, or steering issues that should be resolved.

If you choose to buy a car with alignment issues, you can use the corrective cost in your negotiation. You don’t want a car with some tires wearing out faster than others.


A car is expected to rack up 20,000 km in mileage annually. Low mileage is often a strong selling point for salespersons; however, it can be falsified through ‘clocking.’ How do you make sure that the mileage reading is accurate?

  • You can compare the mileage with the used car’s overall wear and tear.
  • If you see the pedal rubbers, gear knobs, or steering wheel looking newer than other parts, it is a cause for alarm.
  • You also want to check if the odometer numbers line up correctly, especially for older vehicles.

The common way to determine a car’s mileage is by dividing the odometer figures by the vehicle’s age. Additionally, you can check the vehicle’s MOT certificates and service chart to confirm previous mileage readings.

Examine Under the Hood

What Should You Look for when Buying a Used Car

A car is its engine. If the engine is faulty, the body and its outward appearance will not matter, so concentrate on it. When the car is turned off, remove the hood and take a look at the used car’s engine.

Check for corrosion, fluid leaks, and cracked hoses. Ensure you check the oil by dipping transmission sticks to check for discoloration. A car in good condition should have light brown oil and pink or red transmission fluid.


Although you do not expect the seats and interior fabric of a new car in used cars, you still need an element of comfort from your investment. As you purchase, watch out for stains, tears, or cracks on the leather seats. Repairing seats can cost a fortune, so ensure you include the state of upholstery in your negotiation.

Conduct a test drive

After examining several aspects of the used car’s suitability, you should take it for a test drive. Plan your route and ensure you take the car through various testing tricks to determine its maneuverability, braking, acceleration, and suspension. If there is a highway nearby, take the car through this route and try parallel parking to expose any blind spot you may have missed during inspection.

Request for a mechanic inspection

Have you found your dream used car? Your final step to examining if it is worth the investment is taking the car for inspection by a trusted mechanic. You may love cars, but if you are not a mechanic, you may not fully know the car’s health. Even if the dealer tells you that you will bear the inspection cost, request one since it will save lots of money in the long run.

Mechanic inspection has several benefits, including:

  • Saving you from incurring unexpected repair costs
  • Reducing maintenance expenses
  • Help you with negotiation
  • Confirming the used car parts quality
  • You are likely to make an informed decision.

Regardless of how persuasive the salesperson pitched to sell you, do not forget to do a mechanic inspection. You may overlook some red flags, but the mechanic will help know the full impact of those issues.

Wrap Up

Buying a used car can be challenging if you have minimal or no knowledge about cars. However, you can get a healthy car that can serve you for a while with due diligence. Sometimes you may not be sure if the used car you want is an ideal investment. You can purchase a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) car if you feel this way.

A CPO car guarantees you quality. These vehicles are often less than five years old with mileage below 75,000 miles. The dealer checks all the car’s major systems to ensure it is restored to its best condition before presenting it to buyers. Some dealers even offer warranties for these vehicles.

We recommend that when buying a used car, do not rush. Spend time researching and negotiating to ensure the car you buy is what you dream of. The above tips will help you select a used car that fits your budget and meets your needs.

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