What To Check When Buying A Used Car?

What To Look For When Buying A Used Car In 2024?

Many people don't understand what to look for when buying a used car? Get started with the below article!

January 1, 2022

Buying a used car will save a lot of costs and be “upgraded” compared to the amount of money you currently have. However, if you do not have acquaintances or experience in buying used cars, the probability of buying a poor-quality product will be quite high. What to look for when buying a used car? Let’s follow this article to get more knowledge before buying a used car.

What To Check When Buying A Used Car?

What To Prepare Before Deciding To Buy A Used Car?

Determine your financial ability

You need to calculate and determine how much you can spend to buy a car including registration, insurance, and especially the cost of routine maintenance, a decent amount if it is a used car. This helps you avoid living beyond the means and then buying a car and then having to sell it off because you can’t afford the operation of the car. 

Discover information about the car

It is very important to find out information about the used car market before deciding to purchase. This helps you understand more about the model you buy, the price, and not be spoiled when buying a car. However, you should also be careful with cars that are priced too low compared to the common ground of the market. Maybe the condition of that car is not good anymore, so check carefully before making a decision. If you are lucky, you will have a good car and save a good amount of money. You can find genuine used car centers to be more assured about the selected model and warranty policy. You can check it by using our free “VIN lookup” feature.

Choose a car according to your demand

Learn about your vehicle based on criteria such as make, make, model, year, and price to get the proper vehicle for your needs. When you are satisfied with a car, read the reviews of the experts about that car, you will find full reviews of the exterior, interior, performance, fuel consumption. data and other factors to help you make the final decision.

In addition, keep up to date with the news about new cars because there is an unwritten rule that when a new model is released, the predecessor model will decrease in price, choose the appropriate time.

Contact the car seller

You should get a list of questions to ask when buying a used car. Do not hesitate to ask the seller questions such as:

  • What is the age of the car?
  • What is the reason for selling the car?
  • Whether the car has been in an accident?
  • What is the current state of the car?
  • Does the car have any inherent “disease”?

What To Check When Buying A Used Car?

  • Vehicle age and year of manufacture

Many car owners tend to buy used luxury cars with a long life (used for 8-10 years) because the car price is quite cheap at this time. However, many experts say that this decision is quite wrong. In fact, with every car, after using it for 8-10 years, in the case of careful care, quite a lot of engine parts and parts on the car are old enough to need to be replaced. Therefore, if you buy a car, you will likely have to pay a lot of money for repairs and replacement of parts.

In addition, the car has been manufactured for a long time and is quite outdated in terms of technology, entertainment facilities, and especially safety equipment, so it may not be able to help you get a good driving experience. Therefore, car buyers should try to choose used car models that can be used for about 4-6 years. At this time, the quality of the car is still very stable, not too much inferior in terms of equipment and technology, but the price of the car has dropped quite sharply compared to a new car.

  • Vehicle body condition

Entire tires can be beautifully refurbished, but there are areas that even skilled craftsmen in the field don’t notice or can’t fix. That’s the inside of the door handle hook next to the driver’s seat (but not elsewhere). A car used a lot, this detail will wear a lot, even the most worn out of all car exterior details.

Next, look for the door latch on the B-pillar and the latch on the door next to the driver’s seat. The degree of wear of these parts is living proof of the vehicle’s actual use that no measure can hide.

Sensitive locations on the bodywork will not only show how the vehicle is being used but also leave a mark on collisions. The joints that join the panels, the folds in the door frames or glass or side panels, or the fenders are places where water and dirt accumulate and will rust first.

But what is more important than that is that these positions often cannot be restored to their original state when distorted due to impact. Remember that most modern vehicles use a space-based and robotic-welded chassis and body structure that is flat, even, and cannot be replaced even if severely damaged by impact. Therefore, any strange welds or abnormal deformation positions are suspicious signs. Glass frames must be tight, not warped, up and down the glass smoothly.

  • Interior condition

Stepping inside a used car, buyers first need to look at the overall picture to compare the different degradation or discoloration in different locations. The top surface of the dashboard is the area that is most susceptible to discoloration because it is closest to the windshield, receives a lot of dust, is often exposed to the hot sun while receiving little care in the process of cleaning the interior. On a good car, the dashboard or door panels, the ceiling, and the center pedestal must be solid.

Besides, the deterioration of the driver’s seat and steering wheel are two parts that always go hand in hand with the frequency of vehicle use. With a car that has been used a lot, the foam mattress of the driver’s seat will be softer, even flattened, not stretched with the rest of the seats.

If it is a leather seat, the lower thigh support and or the back of the seat (where it often comes into contact with the driver’s arm) will peel or crack with heavy use. Depending on the quality of the interior, the degradation takes place quickly or slowly. With cars that have been re-upholstered, the foam mattress is the remaining sign to be recognizable. The smooth steering wheel in the handlebar positions or the peeling leather cover is also a noticeable manifestation.

For cars that still use conventional keys, the key and electric lock are also talking details. Car buyers need to see if the key is worn or not, the lock is loose or not, and the key turning is still smooth.

  • Vehicle oil level

When checking, make sure the engine is cool and the vehicle is on level ground. Open the bonnet and check the oil level in the engine with the dipstick. Low oil levels can be a sign of poor maintenance, low engine oil accelerates wear, which can lead to more problems as the vehicle ages.

Clean engine oil is golden yellow. If the oil on the dipstick is black, it means it hasn’t been changed for a long time. At the same time, if it shows signs of cloudy, it means that there is engine coolant mixed with oil – you should avoid cars with these signs.

  • The color of exhaust gas

The exhaust may emit fine white smoke on start-up, this is steam from the exhaust and is completely normal. When warm, the engine’s exhaust will usually be very fine, so thick smoke is a worrisome sign.

Black smoke is a sign that the engine is not burning fuel efficiently. This can be caused by a fault in one of the components, such as the fuel injector, filter, or exhaust recirculation valve in a diesel car. Blue smoke indicates that the engine is burning oil, possibly due to a damaged seal or seal that causes oil to leak into the engine’s combustion chamber.

  • The number of kilometers displayed on the meter

Based on the number of miles usually run in a year of the drivers, you can calculate and have a rough assessment of the used level of the car.

In case the number displayed on the meter is larger than the average, but the car has been properly maintained and maintained, there is no need to worry, the number of miles traveled will now help you negotiate a lower price. And if the mileage seems too little for the age of the car, take a close look at the interior. Worn seats, faded buttons, or a shiny steering wheel are all signs of a car’s true longevity and quality.

  • Car’s maintenance history

You should check your car’s service book and ask the owner if they keep receipts for the maintenance they’ve performed. Try calling the dealer who performed the maintenance, they will keep a complete record of the work done. If your next maintenance is coming up, you can use that as a basis to negotiate a discount.

  • The brand of the car

According to the experience when buying used cars of car connoisseurs, the brand of the car greatly affects the selling price and the cost of car repair and maintenance later. In the USA, Ford is the most popular car company. Some brands with high popularity include Chevrolet, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW…

If you buy used cars from these well-known brands, you will easily find maintenance and repair centers and do not spend too much on the above amounts. In case you love a car from a brand that is rarely used, you should consider that the repair fee will be much higher than that of a regular car and it is also difficult to find a reputable car maintenance point as well as spare parts. On the other hand, the car brand also has an important impact in helping the car keep its price.

  • Vehicle origin

If you can buy a car from a reputable relative or friend, you don’t need to worry too much about the origin of the car. However, if you buy a car online or buy it from a consignment store or dealer, the origin of the car is an extremely important issue. Car buyers in this case should carefully check all documents such as registration, registration, maintenance book (if any), and transfer papers to determine who the first car owner is.

This will help you avoid buying used cars, liquidated taxis, or smuggled cars of unknown origin and avoid legal problems when carrying out procedures to transfer vehicle ownership. In addition, you can also talk about the reason the previous owner sold the car. This is because a family car rarely used is much better than a car that has been in an accident, even a minor one.

  • Tire and wheel condition

Tire inspection involves assessing the new condition of the tires. If the tires are heavily worn, the slots on the tire will be shallow. That proves that the car owner does not pay attention to regular car care and inspection. The second observation is to assess whether the tires are on the axle. When the tires are stationary, but the front and rear axles are not aligned, it means that the car has affected the chassis. And this is the consequence of strong impacts affecting the vehicle structure. Usually, with such collisions, car buyers will lower the price of the car very low. But if you’re a used buyer, it is not recommended for you to buy these cars at all.

  • Condition of the engine compartment

After observing the car’s exterior and interior, proceed to open the vehicle’s engine compartment. This part is mainly to observe the car water tank, engine oil and evaluate the original condition of the engine. Observe whether the water tank has enough cooling water or not? Does the water tank have stains in the tank? This is an indication of how much car owners care about car maintenance. The water tank that lacks water regularly can cause the car’s engine to not be cooled effectively and will negatively impact the engine.

NOTE: If you buy directly from an individual, let’s come to their home to see the car, do not make an appointment to another location. Double-check to ensure that the home address matches the vehicle registration. Save information about the car for sale such as vehicle condition, speedometer number to check when viewing the car. Also, check the entire vehicle yourself. If you don’t have experience in this, ask a friend who knows about machinery to come to check it out, it’s even safer to take the car to a repair and maintenance center for a more accurate inspection.

What To Do After Checking The Car’s Condition?

  • Test drive the car

Remember, opening the engine compartment cover can only help you check the coolant and oil. The inspection of the engine is not affected, repair is not necessarily because the company’s employees have enough machines to rule out whether the vehicle has been opened for repair or has a hydraulic fault. Starting the engine and listening to the engine will tell you the strange sounds of metal, of parts being shaken…

  • Before starting, try turning the steering wheel all the way to the sides to check if the steering wheel has a squeak, bump or knock.
  • To test the handbrake, pull the handbrake up and then try to press the accelerator lightly, if the car does not move, the handbrake will still work well.
  • Listen to strange noises coming from the engine. Don’t let the seller distract you by talking or turning on the radio.
  • Try driving on a variety of terrains.
  • Use multiple levels of numbers and pay attention to whether entering numbers is easy or not.
  • Make sure the clutch is in good working order.
  • Check the documents carefully before signing the sales contract

Before signing the contract, you need to carefully check all documents such as registration, registration, insurance, power of attorney, identity certificate of the car seller… can quickly complete the ownership transfer procedures at the authorities. Below is the detailed step:

  • Do the payment procedures and paperwork in order.
  • Keep the original vehicle registration, transfer, warranty history as well as other related documents of the car…
  • When paying or making a deposit, remember to keep the invoice and receipt with the seller’s full signature.

Ideally, when buying a used car, it is guaranteed by the genuine manufacturer of quality and the warranty to follow. Therefore, if there is an agreement with the car owner to go to a genuine dealer to check with a specialized machine, that is also a factor that makes people feel secure.

On dmv-practicetests.com, we provide you with thousands of free DMV practice test questions to help you grasp the necessary knowledge to ve safe on the road. Let’s check it out!

The cost savings when you inspect a used car will entail a few risks. You should prepare enough knowledge to check the used car model you want to buy. The above basic notes about “What to look for when buying a used car?” will help you avoid making unfortunate mistakes.