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What to Look for When Buying a Second-Hand Car

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If you’re in the market for a car, you’ll first need to decide whether you want to buy new or used. Both have their pros and cons, but buying a second-hand car can be a financially sound decision.

Before signing anything, it’s important to know everything there is to know about the car. Here are some things you should inspect before making the final purchase.

Check under the hood and the exterior

Some used cars may have been involved in accidents or salvaged and rebuilt. It’s important to identify problems with the car before buying so you don’t lose money. When it comes down to the interior of the car, you’ll want to:

Look under the hood. Examine the car’s engine. Are there any fluid leaks? A cracked oil pan can cause the oil to leak, but so can a faulty engine valve. If the vehicle doesn’t have a protective shield under the engine area, don’t worry because you can still check if there’s any oil leaking out. Put a large piece of paper under the car and wait. Paper is absorbent and it’ll change color if it’s stained. If the car engine is clean, it’s a good sign, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any hidden leaks. Ask to test drive the car and see if fluids seep out during the drive.

Check the oil condition. Pop the hood and find the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out from the engine and wipe out the oil. Look at both sides of the dipstick. Given that the oil is the lifeblood of the vehicle, it’s necessary to check the oil level and condition. Engine oil that’s in good condition is clear and looks like golden honey.  

Before spending any money, carry out a vehicle exterior check. Small dings or scratches are not cause for concern. What you should be worried about is rust. It’s difficult to repair rust. Rust is always worse than it looks. You just see a small patch. However, if you dig deep into the matter, you’ll realize the entire bodywork is affected. Basically, you’ve got to restore each and every part. Besides locating rust, you’ll want to pay attention to paint thickness, panel alignment, and lights.

Look at the vehicle history report

The vehicle history report contains everything you need to know about the automobile. You can discover unreported damage, see if the mileage is accurate, and understand upcoming maintenance requirements.

If you want to check the car’s history for free, find its VIN number and go online to get a free vehicle history report. For a complete VIN lookup, there are many options that provide data like manufacturer, year of production, plant where it was produced, and much more. To get detailed information, enter the VIN number and require a check.

Second-hand cars come with history. There may be proof of serious internal damage. A VIN lookup is the best and safest way to figure out the true identity of the automobile. The VIN is like the ID number of the car, meaning that its purpose is to identify motor vehicles. Everything that happens to a car can be tracked. Your purchase isn’t likely to be protected, so the seller doesn’t have the legal obligation to give you your money back. Perform a VIN checkup and know all there is to know.

Find out about the warranty

Is the car you’re interested in buying covered by a warranty? Find out. Many vehicles are advertised as certified when they’re actually covered by a third-party warranty. A warranty is important because it offers you peace of mind. Some people sell motor vehicles as they are, even though the law says they have to let you know if they will cover anything once the vehicle is driven off the lot. It’s a good idea to look for a car with the “certified pre-owned” designation because it’s protected against defects and expensive repairs.

This type of car is nothing like others, in the sense that it has been thoroughly inspected, refurbished, and certified by a manufacturer or a certifying authority. A CPO includes extended warranty and additional benefits. Of course, the buyer pays for them. That means you.

If the automobile is more than 3 or 4 years old, chances are that it’s not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Whether or not you get an extended warranty is your decision. Buying an extended warranty can save you money in the long run because this type of coverage takes into account the car’s age and mileage. Always trust your instinct. If you don’t think it’s a good idea to buy an extended warranty, don’t do it.

Check the car’s value

You’ll want to know exactly how much the ride is worth before entering negotiations over its price. If the price is too high, you’ll be stuck making payments, which hurts the wallet. There’s one website that can help you figure out the true value of the car: Enter the make, model, and trim of the automobile and the appraisal tool will tell you how much the motor vehicle is worth. Run the car’s value through this website because the results are objective. The seller may try to hide imperfections and suggest that nothing’s wrong with the vehicle. This is why it’s so important to do your research. Keep in mind that the price value is the starting point for negotiations. Knowing what other sellers are asking for and don’t let the seller tell you the price isn’t negotiable.

This is a collaborative article.