Things to check before buying a used Car

Buying a used car can be somewhat tricky for both first-time buyers and experts alike. The average used car buyer spends 70 hours researching before making a purchase, as opposed to those buying new cars, who only spend an average of 14 hours researching the car specifications and market price, among other things.

Even if you’re using a trusted platform like, there are several factors to consider before finally making a purchase. Most of these are apparent, but quite a few are hidden and can be easily overlooked.

Here are some things to check out before you buy a used car:

Know your price range

The first thing to consider whenever you are in the market for a new ride is your price range. The average price of a used car in the United States is $19,791.

If you’re in the market for a lower budget model, you should look for older models from trusted names in the industry. For those with a more flexible budget, a newer vehicle with less than three years of use might be best for you.

Inspect the interior

Many dealers of used cars will slap a fresh coat of paint on a vehicle and act like it’s practically brand new. It would help if you never fell victim to such scams. Endeavor to inspect the interior of the car thoroughly and severally.

Check the upholstery, look for stain, tears, and cracks in the leather. Broken cup holders, mirrors, and lights should also be on the top of your checklist. Take your time, and don’t let them pressure you into making a purchase.

Check out the paint job.

Check out the exterior extensively. Look for scratches, rust, and areas where the paint is chipped. Minor damage might not be a deal-breaker, as this can be fixed quickly, but more extensive domains of damage seriously reduce the value because they point to more serious underlying faults.

Look at the frame

Frame damage can be quite expensive to fix and is a good indicator of more severe impairments. Dents, warps, missing bolts, and recent repairs may point towards severe damage under the hood. Check the undercarriage for any loose parts, make sure the car is level on the ground, and inspect the frame by inch.

Pop the hood

Inexperienced buyers of used cars usually take only a superficial glance under the hood. They look for visible signs like rust and fluid leaks. However, there are several other things to look out for.

Check for cracked hoses, belts, corrosion, and fluid leaks. Check the oil and transmission fluid to make sure they are the right color. If there’s any empty fluid tank, inquire why it’s empty, this may be a sign of a leak. A foam residue on the inside of the oil cap indicates a leaking head gasket.

Take it for a test drive.

Always take a car for a test drive before making any final decision, no matter how good the condition appears to be. Start by going about 25mph on a straight road. Test its cornering and turning.

Take your hands off the wheel and notice if the car lists to the left or right. This may be a sign that it needs a realignment. Take the vehicle out to the highway and speed up to 60mph. Please pay attention to the wheels for any sign of wobbling; this may indicate when they are out of balance.

Research the vehicle history

You are entitled to a comprehensive history of the vehicle from the current owner. You can then perform some personal digging using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Services such as CARFAX come in handy for this particular function. Always confirm the current owner of the vehicle, especially if you’re buying from a private seller.

Take a peek at the tires.

Check the tire expiration date and ensure the tires are not worn smooth or leaking. Also, make sure that they sit evenly on the ground. All four tires should be evenly worn. Uneven treads might point to issue in the suspension, steering, or frame. Make sure there is a spare tire in good condition if that was part of the agreement.

Look at the accessories and electronics

Rundown a mental checklist of essential car accessories and electronic gadgets. Tick off the following items:

  • Radio and stereo
  • Air conditioning
  • Heater
  • Whether the windows roll fully
  • Mirrors
  • Seatbelt condition
  • Seat adjusters
  • Compartments
  • Dashboard indicators
  • Horn
  • GPS

Inspect each of these items individually to make sure they are in perfect condition.

Check the mileage

Almost instinctively, one of the first things a potential buyer asks is “What’s the mileage?”. A vehicle’s odometer is a good indication of its usage.

An average vehicle has a mileage of 20,000 km each year. If you divide the car’s age by its distance, you can estimate whether it has high or low mileage. This helps you evaluate how heavily the previous owner used the vehicle and the possible extent of wear and tear.

Bring in a professional

If you’re not entirely confident with your assessment or would instead leave it in the hands of a professional, you can request for a pre-purchase inspection. This is a paid service where a professional mechanic inspects the vehicle and looks for any underlying faults which, even the seller may not be aware of.

Many things go into the purchase of used cars, so you need a brand you can trust. Zemotor is a trusted name in the used car industry. They usually provide a link between potential buyers and trusted dealers. Acting as more than just an ad classified site, Zemotor helps you find the vehicle of your dreams.

This post was written by: Kate Westall


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About Kate Westall

I am Kate Westall, a freelance writer and a professional blogger, who enjoys enlightening others about unknown and little-known facts. I love to write on all general and professional topics on Automotive.

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