Buying a car doesn’t just represent a challenge in financial terms. When it comes to deciding on the quality of a particular model, things can quickly get complicated. While this is true for any vehicle, it is even more important when you’re considering purchasing a used car. What to look for in a used car? Even some experts are finding that question hard to answer.
Although the second-hand-market has greatly improved over the past few years, a used car must always be considered a slightly more risky investment than a new one. After all, you can never be 100% sure how well its previous owner has treated it, how many potential flaws may be hiding underneath its perfectly polished hood.
Then again, you can keep these risks down to a minimum as long as you know what to look for in a used car. Which is why we’ve put together this guide to help you get started.
What to look for in a used car: General information
The good news first: Buying a used car is not all that different from buying a new one. The following are some of the points that you should award some priority to:
- Become an expert: Get as much information as you possibly can on what to look for in a used car. Reading this article is not enough – make sure you’re at the top of your game when you enter the showroom.
- Petrol consumption and CO2 emissions: The less fuel you’re using, the lower your costs. With petrol prices currently at a remarkable low, this may not seem like a priority. But don’t count on these levels to last forever. One of the first things to look for in a used car, therefore, is its running costs.
- Durability: Quality levels have gone up across the entire industry over the past two decades. And yet, some manufacturers are still ahead of the competition when it comes to durability. Investing just a few Pounds more can end up saving you a lot more in repairs later on.
- Service network: Even the best car will eventually need to be repaired. This aspect is one of the main issues you should look for in a used car – the bigger the potential service network you can tap into, the better.
- Avoid buying privately: This is an essential piece of advice since, as the BBC have pointed out, you won’t be protected by the sales of goods act when buying privately. Dealers can offer you vital information and a better car finance deal.
The bad news: These general aspects are not enough for making an informed decision. Instead, you will need to take the following, more detailed aspects into consideration as well.
What to look for in a used car: Details
You can never get too many opinions on what to look for in a used car. Which is why it pays off to invite not just one, but, ideally, two experts to your next visit to the car dealer. Once there, you should focus on three areas: The exterior of the car, the inside of the car and what’s under the hood.
Exterior of the car:
- The quality of the paint is one of the easiest things to detect, even if you don’t know what to look for in a used car. There should ideally be no visible scratches, rust spots or dents and the color should be the same shade all over the car.
- The tires, too, should be worn equally and in a good state.
- Make sure the doors open and close smoothly.
Inside of the car:
- The actual mileage should match the mileage you were promised by the sales person.
- One of the key points of what to look for in a used car is to make sure every single detail of the vehicle is in a working condition. Don’t be afraid to check the airconditioning, the radio or the windscreen wiper, but do ask for permission first.
- Some car‘s have an on board computer, you can easily detect any errors by turning it on and waiting for a status update.
Under the hood:
- Just as with the paint job on the exterior, one of the things to look for in a used car’s engine are rust spots, dents and damages.
- Check the oil level to determine if it’s okay. If in order, the oil will have a golden shimmer to it and there should be no debris.
- Checking the timing belt can save you from having to pay high repair costs. Don’t know how to find out? This WikiHow article provides some valuable assistance.
For more details check out the Concept Car Credit vehicle inspection checklist.
Car finance: Essential
A solid financial deal is possibly the most neglected part of what to look for in a used car – unfortunately it is also one of the most important ones. After all, you may find yourself unable to pay off your loan in case you end up saddled with high interest rates. Or, even worse, you could get turned down for a loan even after having gone through every single detail mentioned above. This is why you should never neglect the financial ramifications when looking for a used car.
If you need more information on a loan for a used car, we’re there to help. Concept Car Credit has already helped thousands find and buy the car they want. Contact us if you’d like to part of the success story.