Each time you purchase a car, you're making a big investment – regardless of the price you're paying. Whether your budget will allow for a top-of-the-line new car or a lower-priced used car, you're still investing your hard-earned money. Because of that, you need to make sure that you're getting your money's worth. The last thing you want is to have your car break down shortly after purchasing it. If you're going to be purchasing a used car, here are three easy strategies you can use to avoid buying someone's headache.
Insist on a Title Search
When shopping for a used car, it's important to remember that it once belonged to someone else. If you don't know the previous owner personally, there could be some hidden details that would indicate potential problems with the vehicle. Before you purchase a used car, make sure you do your due-diligence. Whether you're purchasing from a dealership, or a private party, ask for a complete title search on the vehicle. The title search will identify recall issues, and even previous accidents that the car may have been involved in. It's important to note that you can run your own report once you have the license number and VIN of the car you're interested in.
Look for Signs of Accident Damage
When you start looking for a used car, it's important to look past the shiny paint job. You need to take a close look for signs of accident damage. While a title history report will identify accidents that were reported, not all accidents are reported to the insurance company or DMV. That's where your inspection comes in handy. You'll want to look for areas where home repairs could have been conducted, such as over-spray around the headlights, or slight color variations on certain areas of the car. These are signs that the car was in an accident, and the previous owner attempted to cover up the damage.
Ask for the Service History
When you're going to spend your money on a used car, you want to make sure that the car you choose is mechanically sound. If you're going to be purchasing a used car from a major dealership, try to choose a car that is the same make as the dealership you're visiting. This will allow you to request a service history report on the vehicle. Once you have that, you'll be able to identify gaps in routine maintenance, as well as identify potential problems that have required repeated repairs.
For more information or advice, contact a used car dealership.