Buying a used car may be one of the smartest decisions you take but it has plenty of possibilities and avenues of failure. Depending upon how you approach it, you can either end up with a car that saves you a lot of money at the very outset while also serving you for many trouble-free years or you could end up overpaying for a piece of junk that constantly breaks down and only gives you headaches all the time. Thankfully, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out if a used car is worth buying.
Figure out your budget: Be sure to include the price of any minor repairs and also sales tax on used cars in California.
Make sure that there are no major visual blemishes: Even if it is a used car, you will probably end up driving it for a reasonable amount of time. This means that you will have to live with it on a daily basis. To ensure that you can drive it regularly and take it wherever you need to go, make sure that there are no major imperfections. Start with a visual examination of the exterior and check for dents and scratches. A used car will have a few. Make sure that they are minor and barely noticeable. Pay close attention to the paint job. Ensure that there is no flaking or discoloration as a bad paint job can be very expensive to fix. Once you are satisfied with the exterior move on to the interiors. Check the upholstery and all the different panels to make sure that nothing is loose as a rattling panel or a smelly upholstery is the last thing you would want in a car. Make sure that everything is to your liking and that you can make it your everyday transportation option without making major sacrifices.
Review the history of the vehicle: This is perhaps the most important step here. A car can look really good both from the inside and the outside but can still be hiding major defects that are difficult to detect and fix. Cars that have been in huge crashes can be restored to look like their old selves but can still be hiding major problems with the structure and in the chassis. This will make it really dangerous if you are in the unfortunate event of a crash. The car’s history will reveal all such issues and allow you to take a judgment call on whether you should invest in the car. This is not something that should be taken lightly as it concerns your health and well-being as well as the health and well-being of anyone who would end up traveling in the car with you. This will also reveal any persistent issues the car might have had in the past allowing you to get a good grasp of what you would be putting yourself into if you were to buy the car.
Do a test drive to ensure drivability: It goes without saying that this should be very much on the list of things you should do before buying a used car. This helps you to know a few things that are absolutely necessary knowledge before spending your money on the used car. First, it will give you a fair idea of the general condition of the engine. Any rattling or unseemly noises are a good indication of a faulty engine. It will also tell you how well it has been maintained. If it revs unevenly or the gears don’t shift properly then those are good pointers of a car that isn’t in good shape. It will also tell you how responsive the steering is and how well the pedals move. All these are absolutely critical to the drivability of a car and ensure that the car ticks off all these boxes. It doesn’t end there. A car maybe mechanically all right to drive but it should also feel right. If you do not enjoy riding the said car then it is best to look for other options.
Ensure that you are paying a fair price: Buyer’s remorse is one feeling no one should experience as it is one of the worst feelings you could have. Since there is no standardization of the value of used cars, the final price comes down to how well you can bargain. A good starting point would be to go online and check out the usual price a used version of the car that you are looking at sells for. Then look at the specific car and do a quick mental calculation of all the costs you would incur to get it into running condition. It could be anything from changing the brake pads to a full servicing. Factor all of these and see if the price the used car is being offered at is justified or not. If not try to negotiate a price that is more in range with your calculations and if the price is not reduced then look for other options as the last thing you want to do is overpay for a used car.
Have it inspected by a mechanic: This is also vital to ensure that the used car is not hiding any dirty secrets. Every used car will need some type of work done on it to make it “your” car. How much of this work is needed decides how good of a bargain it is. While you can get a fair idea of the general condition of the car, you need a mechanic to truly understand what you are getting yourself into. They can make a fair assessment of the various flaws on the car. Usually, this will cost you some money but it is minuscule compared to what you might have to spend if the car ends up having major issues. With a professional’s opinion you can rest easy that your decision was a wise one. You can also get a good idea of how much extra cost would be incurred allowing you to decide if it would fit into your budget or not.