Used Car Shopping: A Minefield

By on August 9, 2019
car shopping

Any experienced shopper knows that car shopping for a good used car is a tough job. Whether it’s from an individual seller or a second-hand retailer, it’s hard to be confident in a second-hand purchase. Everything from fuel efficiency to handling, to overall reliability, are affected by use. Yet, many of those new to buying second-hand cars are unaware of the potential issues with the practice.

The more a car has been driven, and the older it is, the greater the risk to the buyer of getting a bad car. But, older or more used cars to go for cheaper. The trick is identifying which cars are a bargain for their mileage and age, and which are a potential nightmare.

This led us to put together a quick guide on how you can pick out a high-quality car that is going for a great price. This is so you can make an educated decision when hunting for a good car and so you don’t end up with a lemon.

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Age Vs Mileage: 6 Tips For Buying A Used Car 2019

Despite conventional wisdom, the mileage on a car is not always the best indicator of a car’s health and reliability. But, how well a car has been driven and maintained will dictate its lifespan. Below, are a few key things to look out for to determine just how well looked after a car has been, and how well it may serve you as a used vehicle.

  • Check for a guarantee or warranty from a dealer or garage

This may seem like an obvious step. But it’s one that many new buyers of used vehicles often forget. Different dealers and garages will often offer different warranties and guarantees to compete with each other. Better warranties will also generally be given for cars that dealers expect to run well, and run reliability.

So, give extra attention to lower-cost vehicles with a good warranty or guarantee. You might pick up a bargain.

However, this doesn’t mean you should forgo doing your homework and inspection on your potential purchase. That’s where the next steps come in. Car shopping

  • Check the chassis and bodywork

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. Luckily, the same is not often said about cars. 

One of the biggest factors that will age a car is collisions. This finest means the car has to be involved in a massive crash, either. Little bumps and dings can add up over time and wreak havoc on a car’s health over the long run. 

Inspecting a car’s exterior carefully is a good first step in seeing how well it has been taken care of over the years. 

  • Test all the electronics 

The next step starts with the interiors. Checking the radio, lights, and any other electronic processes in the car will give you a good idea as to the cars working order. The electronics responsiveness should be noted and a few checks should take place to check for reliability. 

While not a perfect indicator, taking this step with the above will give you a good overall picture as to a used car’s basic condition. 

  • Ask when the last service was (and for a report)

Regardless as to how well you run over every detail of a car with your hands and eyes, you’re likely not a mechanic. This means that there’s only a very limited amount you can know about how a car is working and what shape it’s in. 

So, always ask when the last time was when the car got serviced. Also, be sure to ask for a written report to back up the answers the owner gives you. It may seem forward, but it’s the best way to ensure the health of your potential new vehicle. 

  • Take a test drive

Realistically, after all the initial checks are done, the gold standard assessment will always be from driving the car. It is what you’re buying it for, after all. 

Taking the car for a test drive is a great way to assess the brakes, gear stick, handling, and responsiveness of the car. The more experienced you are as a driver, the easier it will be to assess the shape of your car from a single test drive. For less experienced drivers and buyers, don’t be afraid to ask for a second drive to be sure. 

  • Get a second opinion

Another unfortunate fact is that you’re rarely the best person to give the final verdict on a car you like. It can be easy to see a certain car that you prefer in a better light than a potentially better car that may not be the brand or style of car you want. 

This is where a friend or family member who is experienced in used car purchases is useful. They can offer a second opinion on whether the car you like is as impressive as it seems, or whether you should take another look elsewhere. 


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Used Car Shopping: A Minefield