4 Things You Can’t Skip When Buying a Pre-Owned Car

Posted Monday, Jun 04, 2018

It's no secret that buying a pre-owned car will save you money in the long run. However, there are so many unknowns with pre-owned cars that you don't want to jump into the first car you see at the used car dealership. Here are some things you must do before you purchased a used car.

Run a vehicle history report

A vehicle history report, like Carfax, will tell you the complete history of the car. You will know if the car has been in any accidents or other potentially worrisome events in its past, like flood damage. The report will also tell you if the odometer has been rolled back or if it has a bad title.

Test drive it

This may sound unbelievable, but up to 20% of people do not test drive a car before they buy it. The test drive will let you get a feel for the car. You want to test it in a variety of situations, like the highway, backroads, hills. Don't be afraid to walk away if anything seems off or makes you uncomfortable.

Get an inspection

Make sure a trustworthy mechanic runs an inspection on the car before you buy it. They can check things under the car and other basic functions that you may not be able to identify yourself. Spending the time to inspect it before you purchase it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Check for recalls

Finally, check the National Highway Traffic Administration's database of recalls to see if the car you're looking at is on the list. If it is, don't buy the car unless the seller can prove that the issue causing the recall has been fixed. Carfax states that more than 3.5 million used cars were listed for sale in 2013 with recalls that weren't fixed. You don't want your airbag to randomly go off or your ignition to catch fire because the issue wasn't resolved.
Almost 40 million pre-owned cars exchange hands every year between private-party and dealership deals. You want to make sure you know exactly what you're getting into before you dive into a used car purchase. Run a vehicle history report, test drive it, get an inspection, and check for recalls so you can make sure your pre-owned car will get you from A to B safely and as long as it can.