That brand-new car at the auto dealer may be awfully attractive with its lack of mileage and perfect paint. However, the price tag that comes along with a brand-new car can also mean a pretty big payment every month. If you don't quite have enough room in your budget for a new ride, the next logical choice is to go for something similar, but used. While buying a used car is the ideal way to get the set of wheels you need and keep your payments or overall investment low, buying used also means you have to be an excessively careful shopper. Here are three things you must know before you buy a used car.
Know the car's history if you are seriously considering buying it.
The used car you see on the lot may look to be in good enough condition from your standpoint, but knowing the history of the car can help you get a better understanding of what that used vehicle has been through before it was parked on the lot for sale. Taking a look at the car's history will sometimes tell you things like:
- how many owners the car has passed through.
- if it has ever been involved in an accident that left the vehicle totaled.
- if the car has been involved in flood or fire damage.
Your car dealer can usually help get you the car's history using its VIN number, but if for some reason the dealer doesn't do this, there are numerous websites online that make getting the car's history a simple process.
Know about any issues the specific model is known to have.
There is really no such thing as a perfect car or truck; each make and model usually comes out to have both its perks and quirks. Some vehicles may be notorious for having transmission problems early in life, for example. Before you commit to buying a certain model, make sure you check out reviews for the vehicle on websites like Cars.com or Edmunds.com. Just getting a look at the issues other drivers have had can give you a good idea of what issues you may have to contend with if you buy a certain model.
Know the average mileage a certain make and model usually lives through.
Some car makes and models will barely make it to 100,000 miles before they start showing signs that the motor is wearing down, and they may not make it a long way past this mark. However, there are some car makes and models that are hailed for having a long lifespan, with the ability to go well over 200,000 miles on a single engine as long as the vehicle is well maintained. For example, the Toyota Scion xD is hailed as being one car that can make to 250,000 miles.