If you are in the market for a vehicle, one of the best decisions you can make is to bypass the new car lots and head directly for a used car dealership. There are a variety of benefits you can expect when buying a used car, including a lower price tag, many of the features that you couldn't otherwise afford and in many cases, a warranty. Buying used definitely has its advantages, but it is still important to pay close attention to the vehicles you are considering. Before going to the dealership, do you homework and research the vehicles you are interested in to determine an average selling price as well as the cost of insurance. There's going to be a lot of vehicles to choose from, but here are 5 things you should check out to ensure you are getting your money's worth.
Carpet and Upholstery
You should carefully inspect the carpet and the upholstery. Ask yourself these questions to determine if the interior is as good as it appears to be:
- Is the carpet the same color in the front and the back?
- Are there any tears or cracks in the seats?
- Are there any stains and dirt on the surface of the carpet and upholstery?
- Are there any burn marks in the upholstery or the carpet?
- Are there any rips, tears or stains hidden under the floor mats?
If everything looks good, the next step is to think about how it smells. If there is an odor, talk to the salesperson about possible detailing before you purchase the vehicle. This way you won't get struck with a smell that is impossible to get rid of.
Heating and Air Conditioning
You want a vehicle that blows out cold air in the summer and hot air in the winter. When shopping for a used vehicle, don't just take the salespersons word for it that the air conditioning and heater works. You should actually test them out yourself. Regardless of the temperature outside, make sure to test both the heat and the air. Turn the vehicle on, then turn the climate control on and let it run for a few minutes to make sure it works correctly.
Frame is Structurally Sound
When you are buying a used vehicle, it is important to ensure that it is structurally sound. This means that you must determine to the best of your ability if the frame has ever been damaged. Ask the salesperson for a detailed history report, which will let you know if the vehicle has been in any reported accidents, but keep in mind that the reports aren't always completely accurate. When inspecting the vehicle, look down both sides to determine if the vehicle is straight. You should also walk around the vehicle and look for any gaps in the body panels. If the body panels are not the same, there may be underlying damage. Finally, take the vehicle for a test drive and take notice of how the vehicle handles and turns. It's also helpful to have a friend follow behind you while test driving to watch how the vehicle drives. For example, does it look like it is pulling to the left or the right?
There are plenty of used cars available to choose from, so when shopping at a used car dealership, take your time, look only at the vehicles you are interested in and remember to stick to your budget.