Buying great used cars for sale in your area is one way to cut down on the final sale price of your new vehicle. But used cars come with a few challenges - you have to be sure that you're not buying a lemon! Here are some steps to take to make sure you're buying a great used car.
Lean Towards Dealerships
There are some great deals to be had when buying from a private seller. But if your goal is to avoid a bad purchase, stick with the dealerships with cars for sale in your area. Since they have a reputation to maintain, it's much less likely that they will sell you a car that they know isn't going to run. And if you discover issues with the car within the first few weeks or months of purchase, they may be willing to help remedy major issues with your car.
Get a Report
You can also get reporting on your car to learn about its previous ownership and maintenance history. When you get a car report, there are a few things to look at. For one, check the number of previous owners. Fewer is better, since longer-term owners may be more likely to take care of their cars.
You can also look at the service history to make sure that the car was serviced at the right intervals. If the previous owner took the car in for regular oil changes and tune-ups, this can give you some guarantees that the car's lifespan is going to be as expected. When you're looking at service schedules, be sure to read the owner's manual of the car model to see the suggested service times; each car make and model is different in this regard.
Take it to the Mechanic
Before you buy a car, you can also have it looked at by a certified mechanic to root out any major problems. The mechanic will check on all of the essentials, such as lighting and brake condition. They will look at the major systems to determine their condition. The mechanic may return a report to you that details any urgent repairs as well as maintenance that's coming up. If you ask, they can give you cost estimates on these items, so that you're prepared to know how much extra you'll be spending on car maintenance in the near future.
Do a Thorough Test Drive
Finally, don't skip the test drive. Even if everything checks out mechanically, there may be slight quirks in the way the car handles if it's an older vehicle. The test drive is one final piece of research to help you feel comfortable about your car purchase.