Buying a car is like the beginning of any new relationship. It takes time, money and effort. You have to understand yourself, know what you want, and combine logic and emotion healthily. The results can be wonderful or terrible.
But before you commit, make sure you've done all the due diligence. There is a lot of work and preparation for the first-time used car trading.
Used car trading buyer's Guide
How to buy a used car
Before checking and buying a used car:
Make a budget to narrow your used car search to a few specific cars.
Find out the manufacturer / model of the car you want and whether there are any recalls, consumer complaints or safety related defects.
If your research finds any common problems with the car, please keep that in mind during the inspection.
Once you select a car that meets your needs and price range, you will need to get a vehicle history report.
Get a Carfax vehicle history report for important information about the vehicle you are considering.
All you need is a 17 character Vin.
All vans are subject to a rigorous 180 point inspection with a free Carfax report.
If Carfax's report is clean, there is no history of flood damage, no accident indications, or other danger signals, it's time to check the vehicles.
Whether you have a third-party mechanic check your car or not, it's a good idea to know the status of the used car trading firsthand. Although Carfax's vehicle history report provides you with a lot of useful information, you still want to have a thorough inspection of the vehicle yourself.
Minor damage and scratches are acceptable, but you have to decide whether the price reflects that. If the car is really cheap, you may expect some damage inside and / or outside.
As long as it is properly repaired, minor accidents will not be a problem. But be sure to write down any defects you find, as it will help you in the negotiation process.
Bigger damage is more serious, such as big collisions. That's why you want to see a complete car history report. While new welding, paint, and other signs can indicate a major crash, you may not be able to tell the car what it's going through in its life cycle.
3. Test driven
This could be the best moment in the whole process of buying a car - driving a car that could become "your baby.". "It's like a first date. Like any first date, first impressions are very important.
Choose a cold day. When you start the car and let it idle, pay attention to the sound of the engine. Turn on the heat and see how hot and fast it is. Once the car gets hot, turn on the air conditioner quickly.
Plan your route in advance. Driving on flat and rugged roads, hilly and flat land, urban streets and expressways.
Test all electronic products. This includes windshield wipers, lights, radio, heating and air conditioning.
Test changes. Is there a smooth transition? Will the steering wheel vibrate? If you feel a strange vibration or hear a dull or rubbing sound, it may indicate poor transmission. Feel the car in different gear settings, but there's no need to get it to top speed.
Check the brake. This is not the time to be gentle. Drive to 40-60 miles an hour and slam on the brakes. Make sure the car stops straight and the steering wheel doesn't shake. This may indicate warping rotors, worn brake pads, or loose brake calipers. A healthy braking system will stop directly.
Check tire alignment. Make sure your steering wheel is completely straight, then move your hand away for a few seconds to see if the car turns right or left. If the tires are aligned, the car should continue in a straight line.
Listen carefully. Is there a metallic sound? If you hear click, click click, click click and other unusual sounds, further research is needed. Strange sounds and vibrations indicate that repair is coming.
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