Used cars are becoming increasingly popular amongst buyers around the world – they depreciate less, are cheaper overall, and thanks to new technologies, many newer used cars are plenty safe for families and children. If you know what to look for when you’re hunting for used cars online, on websites like Auto Trader, then you’ll be sure to pick up a bargain that’s sure to last. Here are a few things to look out for when it’s time to buy a used car.
1. How it drives
You should always take a car, whether it’s new or used, on a test drive before making any decisions. Take the car on local roads and out on the open highway, so you get a feel for the engine and handling across different conditions. Make sure to note down any unusual engine or brake sounds – an odd rumbling or squeaking could be indicative of much more serious problems down the line. Try all the different electronics, like the radio, air conditioning and cigarette lighter, to make sure everything is fully operational.
2. What it looks like
Aesthetics plays an important part in what the car is worth. Check the interior upholstery carefully for any tears or stains, and lift up covers if they’re used. Outside the car, check the paint for any dings, nicks or scratches, and any signs the car has been repaired from an accident. Always open the hood and take a look at the engine. Even if you’re not familiar with all the components, dirty or rusty parts will stand out, and can be a sign of trouble later down the road.
3. Test for leaks
During your test drive, stop to park on clean, dry concrete and shut the car off for at least a minute. When you pull away, check to see if any fluids have leaked onto the ground. Black fluid means there may be leaking oil; green anti-freeze and pink fluid might be due to a leak in the transmission. If you were running the air conditioning and the car appears to be leaking small amounts of water, this could just be normal condensation dripping through the system, so keep this in mind.
4. Vehicle history
Ask to see all available paperwork from a dealer, including previous registration details and receipts of past repairs and services. It’s important to get a full picture of the car’s history to properly judge its value and how long-lasting it will be in your possession. You should also get a vehicle history check done, which is available online for most markets. This will verify the car’s make, model, VIN and year manufactured so you can be confident the car you’re purchasing is genuine.
5. The price
If you’re looking online, then chances are there will be several other vehicles of the same make and model that are also listed. Make sure to compare all of them to ensure that the particular car that you’re looking at is in line with current market values, and if it is a little high, you can use this evidence to negotiate a better deal with the seller or dealer.