With sales of new cars rising as economic conditions continue to improve, the market for pre-owned autos has cooled of late. This is good news for savvy buyers, who can now save a tidy sum on most used cars for sale. How much? According to Edumunds.com, an online resource for automotive information, prices of secondhand vehicles are expected to fall by about two percent nowadays. Of course, that doesn’t mean that every deal is a good one; there are lemons out there! With that in mind, here are five simple tips that will help you pick a reliable pre-owned vehicle.
5 Expert Tips to Buy Used Car
1. Check the Aesthetics
The main reason new cars depreciate at an incredible rate is that they inevitably sustain some damage with use. From the tires to the engine to the seat belts, condition issues are so common in used cars for sale that minor ones are expected and accepted by most shoppers. But when a vehicle is in poor condition, both inside and out, it is far more likely to have mechanical issues. Why? Because if the previous owner didn’t care about how his vehicle looked, he may not have cared about how it drove either. In other words, he may not have had it serviced or completed the regular maintenance all owners must complete in order to keep their vehicles in tip-top shape.
2. Lookout for Leaks
One of the most serious problems older autos experience is leakage. Whether they lose oil, brake fluid, anti-freeze, or transmission fluid, leaks must always be addressed in order to ensure proper operation. So if you buy an automobile that leaks, a repair bill will soon be coming your way. We should also mention that leaks can cause serious, often irreparable damage to engine parts and components.
In order to check for leaks, move the vehicle to a clean area of a road or parking lot. After it has run for a minute or two, move it again and check for spots. Black spots often indicate an oil leak, while pink ones are probably transmission fluid. Both of these leaks are extremely serious and will require immediate attention. As a result, you should steer clear of secondhand autos that can’t hold their fluids.
3. Know the Price
The easiest way to avoid overpaying for used cars for sale is to do a little research on the Internet. There are dozens of reputable websites that track and post recent sale prices for pre-owned autos. Even though prices will vary based on mileage and condition, you should be able to get a good ballpark figure on any model you are interested in.
4. Get It Inspected
Probably the most common error people make when shopping for pre-owned autos is that they fail to get them inspected before they buy. Why? In most cases, it’s because they don’t want to pay the couple hundred dollars it costs to have them examined by a qualified mechanic. Our advice? Pay the fee because it will be far less expensive than buying a lemon!
5. Take a Test Drive
While it is extremely uncommon for shoppers to buy a secondhand auto without a test drive, some neglect to test it on both local roads and highways. These markedly different driving environments present distinct challenges and obstacles for used cars for sale with performance issues. As such, we strongly recommend taking both trips.
Following our five simple tips should help you avoid the dreaded lemon on your next car-buying expedition.