You can find great deals when shopping for a used car, but making this kind of purchase also requires a lot of perseverance and research to ensure you're buying a solid vehicle.Here are some of the key pieces of research that should go into any used car purchase.
Does the VIN Check Out?
Before you start researching the deals of a specific vehicle for sale, you might want to make sure that the car belongs to the person who is selling it. By looking up the VIN number, you will learn more about the previous owners, as well as the condition of thecar (such as whether it's salvaged or not). Of course, if you're buying from a used car dealership, they may have already done this work for you to determine that the sale is legal.
What Are the Car's Ratings Like?
You should also check on the ratings for that individual year, make and model of vehicle. It's often not enough to pick a manufacturer and take any car from that brand; even reliable brands can have off years in their safety design. One potential thing to check is how the vehicle did in crash ratings, both low-velocity and high-velocity. You'll also want to know if there were any safety recalls or particular issues with that year's design.
What Mechanical Condition Is the Car In?
Even if the car is in good shape cosmetically, do yourself a favor and take it to a mechanic. Just because the previous owner took good care of the appearance, that doesn't meant that the car is in optimal shape. They may not have known what kinds of maintenance needed to be done on the car. On that note, there are various websites that you can pay to get the service records of your potential new car. Check the records against the advised service schedule for that make and model to see if there were any lapses in maintenance.
Who Is the Seller?
Before you buy a car, you may also want to research the seller. If it's a private party, this may be difficult to do. But if you buy a used car from a car dealership, you will have the luxury of looking at past reviews. You can see how other people's purchases fared after the 90-day initial warranty, and if there were any issues, how your salespeople handled them in a fair way.