Not all of us can afford to buy a new car unfortunately. My first car, for example, was a second hand Toyota sedan. If you’re thinking of buying a used car because that’s what fits the budget, there’s no shame in that. In fact, buying second hand when done right makes an excellent investment.
Buying used as opposed to buying a new car, however, is a tricky business. With so many things to consider and so many choices at your disposal, it can all get confusing. But don’t worry; we’ll try to keep it simple by focusing on the following factors:
All about the form
When looking at second hand cars, the first thing you need to inspect is the form. Check the tires, paint, trunk and under the car if possible. If you see any major damage, pass it up and move on to the next option.
Inspect under the hood
This part is probably the most important step before buying a used car. Your huge savings won’t pay off if there is any major damage on major parts under the hood. Start with the engine by checking for any types of corrosion or leaks. Also inspect the hoses and belts for any damage as well as the oil filler cap, fluid and timing belt.
Go inside the car
Your budget may be limited but it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the condition of the inside of the car. Make sure everything is working fine including the air conditioning system, the seat and all the important buttons. While you’re at it, check also the odometer for the mileage. Ideally mileage should be directly proportional with age. That should be around 10,000 to 15,000 miles per year for an average driver.
Test drive the car
Like with buying a new car, it’s very important to test the drive the used car you have set your eyes on. Check for the feel especially when it comes to the brakes and keep your ears open for any abnormal sounds as that may imply an issue with the car’s engine.
Finalize your decision
Double checking your option always pays off when buying used cars. If you’re not confident with your personal knowledge on cars, you may want to bring someone who is more knowledgeable to do the inspecting for you. Before signing anything, be sure to negotiate the price. Money Advice Service can help you bargain for a better deal for your car.