Buying a Preowned Car? Here’s 5 Essential Tips

The words “used car” strike fear into some folks, but finding and buying a pre-owned car that’s reliable and suits your needs is easier than it seems. Before you sign on the dotted line, though, check out these five tips for navigating your way to the car that’s right for you.

1. Consider Your Others’ Experience

It’s easy to get excited when you see a decently priced 20-year-old BMW, especially if that particular model has always appealed to you. But have you ever driven a BMW? Let alone one that is several-decades old?

The older BMW might be a good buy, but if you don’t have any BMW experience, you might want to consider doing your research and asking around to friends and family who do have experience with BMWs. Also, do research online and read reviews to find out about common issues with that particular model.


2. The Price isn’t Always Right

Cheap cars are cheap for a reason. It cannot be stressed enough: there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap used car. In fact, when a car owner won’t budge much from their original asking price, there might be a good reason — it might be a good car.

Find out the general value of the model you’re looking for and don’t consider vehicles priced significantly below that benchmark as that’s how you end up with a lemon.

3. Get a Second Opinion

Kicking tires and driving around the block really doesn’t tell you much. A qualified mechanic’s opinion is mandatory. You might have to pay for the expert’s time, but trust us, it’s worth it.

An expert can spot stuff in 10 seconds that could save you thousands of dollars in repair bills. Get that second opinion.

4. Rust is a Bust

You can replace a fan belt, a battery is easy to swap out, but if there is significant rust penetration, the vehicle is probably not a good choice.

Like icebergs, the rust you see on the outside is just the visible part — more may lurk below. Rust hides in hard-to-spot places. Unless you really know what you’re doing, if you see significant rust, it’s a bust.

Rusty BMW
(image source: flickr)

5. Check the Lining / Blast the AC

It’s amazing what secrets you can find by peeling back the rubber lining of a car’s trunk — water damage, evidence of a rear-end collision, rust, etc. If the seller doesn’t let you inspect the car thoroughly it’s a good indication they have something to hide.

Heating and cooling systems also offer insights into the vehicle’s condition. Crank those knobs to the max and see if it has the power to impress.

Extra pro tip: if it’s summer, turn the heating on full blast. Vice versa if it’s winter.

It goes without saying that homework is the first step for any person considering a pre-owned car. Do your research, follow common sense tips and with the right amount of effort, you just might find the perfect used car.

So if you’re considering buying a used car, let us check it out for you so you can have peace of mind with your purchase. It’s worth a few bucks to potentially save you the headaches and costs of repairs down the road.

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