Tips When Buying A Used Car


Tips On How To Buy A Used Car – And Not A New Headache!Used Car Purchase - Do Your Research First

Knowing how to buy a used car and not “a new headache” is an important lesson to learn!  Whether you buy a used car from a car lot or a private party it can be a notoriously vulnerable situation.  However, even when you purchase a vehicle from the most honest used car dealer, or even a friend, it is important to take all the safeguards possible.  This is not so much because of the seller as it is because of the mechanical nature of the vehicle being sold.

Any number of problems can develop with a car, and they are not always obvious to a non-mechanic.  This makes it difficult to determine the extent of potential problems when they are in the early stages of wearing out.  Generally the person selling a car assumes that if they disclose problems with the car it will make it difficult to sell, or they may need to lower the price.  They may not be very forthcoming, or simply unaware of developing mechanical problems with the car.  This is why it is very important to know how to get information about a used car.


What Type of Information Do You Need?

While problems with an engine, brakes, suspension, electrical system and other major systems of the car should be a primary concern, you should also consider other problems that may be developing.  For instance, if a car has just had a paint job, you should make inquiries about why this work was necessary.  In some cases, it could be covering up an accident or perhaps just making it more appealing before sale.  Ask the current car owner to make a list of any problems the car has had, and provide any available maintenance logs.

One of the things you can do to make sure your prospective car is a good investment is have the current owner allow you to have your mechanic run a pre-sale diagnostic on your prospective car.  You may want to decline an offer from someone selling a car who does not want to allow this diagnostic, because he or she may be hiding a defect.

Schedule a pre-sale diagnostic testwith a reputable car repair shop in Carmichael such as AutoMedics.  Tell us you want a pre-sale diagnostic to know if there are issues that may discourage you from getting the car.  You should also have your mechanic make a list of any known problems with the car, how severe these problems are and how much it will cost to have them fixed.  If any needed repairs become too great a cost or hassle, you may want to look for another car.  The cost of the diagnostic can save you potential headaches and much bigger expenses later on.  However, if the problems are reasonably repairable, you can use this as a point of negotiation with the seller.  Or, better yet if the diagnostic looks good then you can feel more confident with its dependability.


Doing Your Own ResearchUsed Car Diagnostic Appointment

Before you settle on any car, you can do your own research to help you narrow down your choices since there are many cars to choose from.  There are several sources of information available to you.

Many car buyers visit to use their extensive historical maintenance reports of specific year and model of cars to spot general trends, both good and bad.  They provide historical trends for the various mechanical systems of cars that can further tip you off if a certain model and year of car tends to be a lemon, or more dependable.

Another popular resource to obtain accident history for a specific car is  For about $40 you can simply enter the car license plate number or the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into their website database and they will provide an impressive amount of accident history of the car you are thinking of buying.  This accident history report would be good information to make available to the car repair mechanic that you take the car to for a pre-sale checkout to make sure there are no further problems.

You may want to also consider other factors that seem frivolous but are nonetheless important.  For instance, you need to know if seat adjustments still work, as well as the windows.  Problems with the door locks and even the heater or air conditioning can also be a deal breaker in some cases.  The condition of the seats, seat belts, and even the trunk or floor should also be a point of inquiry in a used car.

Whether you are dealing with a private owner or a used car dealer, it usually is a good idea to obtain as much information as possible about a car that you will be depending on to be reliable and do some research upfront.  It can be a good idea to invest in a vehicle history report, or a diagnostic check to maybe prevent problems further on down the road.  Let us know if AutoMedics we can help either before or after the sale.