If you’re looking to buy a pre-owned car, use this handy 4-step inspection program to determine the vehicle’s reliability, condition, and value. This will help you negotiate a fair price and avoid any expensive repairs after the purchase.
Check the Reliability of The Car Online
Once you determine the vehicle models you’re interested in, you can begin your research on the many online forums available. There are many websites where you can read comments and reviews about the car. You can also ask questions about the car to current owners.
Inquire about any recurring problems with the year, make, and model you’re interested in, and ask how much the owners have spent on repairs.
Inspect Before the Test Drive
Check the lights on the dash when you turn the car on. When you turn the car off, the lights should turn off too.
Check the tires for cracks, tread depth, and any other wear and tear. You can then deduct the amount it would take for replacing the tires from the seller’s price.
Check the engine for any varnish or sludge build-up. The engine should start instantly, even while ‘cold’.
Check for any maintenance records the owner may have – the more detailed the records, the better.
Be Sure to Take a Test Drive
When taking your test drive, don’t just take a trip around the neighborhood. Drive around the city, take it for a spin on the highway and ensure you put the car through its paces.
Check the engine’s overall performance. Accelerate the car from a stop without letting up and you shouldn’t feel any hesitation or chugging. Drive it up a steep hill or punch it hard on the highway to put it under a heavy load. There shouldn’t be any miss or lag and if there is, the car has driveability issues, which will cost you just to get a scan tool check.
Negotiate the Price
Most mechanics charge a nominal fee for a used-vehicle inspection, and this is good money spent. Before you commit to the inspection, always negotiate the best price based on any problems you’ve already discovered to see you can get a better deal.