Buying a used car can be great for your budget but buying a quality vehicle requires knowing what to look for. Our used car checklist is here to help.
We all know buying a used car can save you money. The downside is the vehicle in question already has miles on it, some miles perhaps harder than others. This means buying a used vehicle requires some knowledge and the diligence to apply it. This check list aims to provide you with the information for the first part and the inspiration for the second part.
The first thing you’ll want to do is some research on all the strengths and weaknesses of the vehicle you’re considering, including any common mechanical issues. You’ll also want to check out the vehicle history report so you’re aware of service work that has been done, any open recalls, and whether the vehicle has been in any accidents. This way you’ll know primary points of concentration when doing your inspection.
Depending on how thorough you’re able to be, you can inspect the vehicle with just a flashlight and some clean rags. If you’re foregoing a professional inspection, you’ll also want a jack, jack stands, and a code reader (they typically cost around $30.00 and can give you trouble codes indicating potential issues).
There’s a lot you can tell about a used vehicle from just walking around it and kicking the proverbial tires (there are, in fact, better ways of checking tire condition than kicking them). Below is our list of things to check for, in no particular order.
The state of the interior isn’t just the condition of the upholstery. Here’s are all the things to look and smell … yes, smell for.
Things might look great at first glance, but a thorough inspection isn’t complete until you’ve gotten a good look at all the mechanicals. Here’s what to look for in the engine compartment and in the undercarriage.
There’s a lot going on in a used car you won’t be able to evaluate until you get it started and out on the road. Here’s what to look, listen, and feel for.
Given you’re reading this used car checklist, you’re probably not a mechanic. So even if you’ve gone through this checklist and inspected your prospective purchase, it’s still a good idea to have it looked at by a professional mechanic you trust. Most dealers are happy to allow you to have a third-party mechanic inspect a potential purchase.