What to Look for When Buying a Used Car
What to Look for When Buying a Used Car
Posted on October 25, 2023
You've found yourself in the market for a used car, but you're not sure what to look for. Well, you've come to the right place! Township Chevrolet in Summerside, PE has sold 1000's of used cars, so you might say were are something of an expert in this category! One thing that we find a lot of our customers ask is "What should I be looking for when looking for a used vehicle?", so we are going to break it down so that buying your next used vehicle is less of a headache than it needs to be!
Buying a used car can be a cost-effective way to own a vehicle that meets your needs while saving money compared to purchasing a new one. However, the process of buying a used car can be daunting, as there are various factors to consider to ensure you make a wise investment.
Set a Budget
Before you start shopping for a used car, it's crucial to establish a budget. Knowing how much you're willing to spend will help you narrow down your options and prevent overspending. Consider not only the purchase price but also ongoing expenses such as insurance, fuel, and maintenance. Generally, you can find this information via a simple Google search or call your insurance company before finalizing your purchase.
When setting a budget, don't just consider the sticker price, but consider what you can afford monthly, or bi-weekly. A lot of the team people can't afford to write a big check for the full price of the vehicle, but they can afford something each month.
Research the Market
Once you've set a budget, research the used car market to get an idea of the types of vehicles available within your price range. Online classifieds, dealership websites, and used car listing platforms can provide valuable information on available makes and models. Pay attention to factors like mileage, age, and the location of the vehicles you're interested in.
Some online classifieds you could help to narrow down your search could be:
Identify Your Needs
Consider your needs and preferences when choosing a used car. Think about factors like:
- The number of passengers you need to accommodate.
- Your driving habits (e.g., daily commute, long trips, off-road).
- Fuel efficiency.
- Safety features.
- Optional features (e.g., navigation system, leather seats).
By identifying your specific requirements, you can narrow down your options further. Typically, on dealership website's and used car classifieds they have filters to help you with this.
Vehicle History Report
When you find a used car that interests you, it's essential to obtain a vehicle history report. This report will give you insight into the car's past, including accidents, title issues, and service history. Services like Carfax provide comprehensive vehicle history reports for a fee. We have talked about "What is a Carfax Report?" in other blogs.
Inspect the Car
Before making a purchase, inspect the car thoroughly. If you're not confident in your ability to assess a vehicle, consider consulting mechanic to conduct a pre-purchase inspection. Key areas to focus on during the inspection include:
- Exterior condition (paint, bodywork, tires).
- Engine and mechanical components.
- Interior condition (seats, dashboard, and controls).
- Test drive the car to assess its handling, braking, and acceleration.
Luckily, some dealerships (like us) have what's called a Certified Pre-Owned Program (CPO). What this means is that a used car, truck, or SUV has to go through a rigorous inspection before it qualifies to be sold to the public which is then backed by warranty. For example, our CPO program includes:
- 150+ Point Inspection
- 30 day return policy
- 3 months or 5,000km's of manufacturers warranty
- Roadside Assistance
But remember, this will vary by program!
Negotiate the Price
Once you're satisfied with the car's condition, it's time to negotiate the price. Research the market value for the specific make and model (using the classified we discussed), taking into account its condition and mileage. Used vehicles prices vary by market, so take into consideration about the vehicles prices near your location.
Review the Paperwork
Before finalizing the deal, carefully review all the paperwork, including the title, bill of sale, and any warranty or service records. Ensure that the title is clean, meaning there are no liens or legal issues associated with the car. Your Business Manager at Township will review all of this with you before we release to vehicle.
Take the car for a thorough test drive. Pay attention to how it handles, any unusual noises or vibrations, and whether all the features and systems work as expected. The test drive is your final opportunity to ensure the car meets your expectations.
Consider a Mechanics Inspection
If you have any doubts about the car's condition, it's a good idea to have a mechanic inspect it before finalizing the purchase. While this may cost extra, it can save you from potential costly repairs down the road. At Township, we have our mechanics to a full review (150+ point inspection) before placing our vehicles for sale.