Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Purchasing a Used Car

August 5th, 2016 by

Purchasing your next car can be a hard decision and one of the first questions you have to ask yourself is used or new? While some people only shop new cars, other shoppers only shop used cars because they don’t want to pay all of that money for a car that will immediately depreciate once it is driven off the lot. If you buy a used car that is cheap enough, you may be able to pay cash and you won’t need to finance.

No matter the reason for purchasing a used car, you should ask yourself the following five questions when shopping for a used cars, and you will be more likely to find a safe, reliable vehicle that is a smart purchase.

Where/who am I purchasing this car from?

Car shopping on a site like Craigslist has pros and cons. Some people prefer working with individual car owners, but it can be risky. Not only do you have no clue who you are going to meet, but you also have very little recourse of action if they sell you a bad used car. When you shop at a used car dealership like Driver’s Auto Mart, you’re shopping with a big business and a name you can trust.

Also, a dealership can offer you an extended warranty that can be added into your monthly finance payments. If you get an extended warranty on your own, you have to pay for the total cost of the warranty (anywhere from $500 to a couple thousand dollars) upfront.

How many miles are on it, and has it kept up with routine maintenance checks?

Check the odometer and see how many miles are on the car. Then, do some basic research to figure out how many more you could get out of the car.  

Also, ask to see its accident history and major service repairs related to its “lemon history”, which can be done by running the VIN number through a site like CarFax. If none can be provided, then it may be best to keep searching. If the service paperwork shows the car has had multiple major repairs indicated by lemon history, it may also be smart to move on to another car.

Has the car been in an accident?

If no, that’s great. If yes, then it is important to see how much damage was done, if the car ever was fixed, and if the car had any major repairs or problems following the accident. A CarFax report will have this information, too.

Can a mechanic check it first and write up a full report?

If all has gone well so far, you will still want to have a mechanic check all the aspects of the car and write up a report. From there, you can judge if there are any problems, and if there are problems, you will know how bad or important they are and how much they will cost to fix.

Can I test drive the car?

Finally, test drive the car! You can’t decide to buy a car without knowing how it drives, and if it is a good fit for you.

As long as you ask yourself these questions, and all the answers check out, you can find a great used car for a reasonable price! Check our Driver’s Auto Mart inventory here.  

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