The 5 things to look at in a used car (besides the price)

Looking to buy a second hand car? A previously owned car could be a great deal, being much more affordable than a new model but still in good working condition. Or it could be a serious disappointment. To avoid the latter don’t just look at the asking price. Here are the five things you should be looking at in a used car.

  1. The condition

Of course the first thing you would naturally look at is the condition of the motor vehicle. This includes the condition of the body work, interior, boot and seats. If you notice something needs to be replaced or repaired you can either ask the seller to remedy it before the sale, request a reduction in price or simply not purchase the vehicle.

Bear in mind though that a minor thing like a tear in the interior isn’t such a big deal, but if the overall condition is bad then it is a sign the vehicle wasn’t looked after properly. No matter how good the asking price is then it could lead to disappointment.

  1. The service and repair history

It is very, very important when considering used cars for sale that you see the service and repair history of a car before you agree to buy it. If it isn’t offered to you, then you must request to see it. The condition of a car might look near-perfect from the outset, but a good paint job could be covering all sorts of issues. For instance, if the vehicle had previously been in a major collision, even after repaired it could still give recurring problems.

You also want to make sure that the vehicle has been regularly taken in for a service and has been well-maintained all along.

  1. How it feels

Besides what you see with your eyes, you also have to think about how the vehicle feels while driving. Take the car for a test drive so you can hear the motor, feel the brakes and ensure that the car is fully functioning. If you aren’t clued up on vehicles, have your local mechanic or a friend come with to give their opinion.

  1. The make and model

The simple fact of the matter is that not all cars are created equally. Some makes and models have a better reputation than others. This could be due to just to the popularity of a brand, but often times it is also because a certain make and model has proven itself to be a good option as a second hand car. This will require you to do a little research on your own. For instance, you can start by reading up on consumer reports.

  1. Paperwork

Once you have a car in mind that has scored well in all the above mentioned points, the next thing to look at is the paperwork to make sure you aren’t being taken for a ride. This is more relevant if you are buying from a private seller than if you are buying from an established car dealer though. Buying from a dealer comes with a certain amount of safety, but in a private situation you have to be extra careful of fraud. Paperwork includes things like making sure the vehicle is not stolen and that it is in fact fully paid off (otherwise you would have to continue the payments yourself!).

If you make sure the above five elements are in place and you do your homework, put in the time and research and consult experts, you can be quite sure that you will end up with a second hand car you can be very happy with for years to come.