No two vehicles are the same, and this holds particularly true for used cars. As a potential buyer, be it online, from a private seller, or dealership, make it your duty to do your due diligence determining the difference between a high-value car and one that is cheaper but about to break down. If you have little to no experience in the matter, determining which is which may not be as easy as previously anticipated.
The most common trap that inexperienced people fall for is the price. Some may be enticed by a low price for a particular model, but can eventually end up with much more due to repairs. Others might end up buying a car that's entirely unsuited for their budget.
To help you determine the overall value of a used car, we’ve compiled some tips and techniques we recommend.
For a car to maintain its value over time, it needs to have all of its routine maintenance checks done following with the recommended manufacturer intervals. Check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) through AutoCheck to see how well the vehicle was maintained. Keep in mind that not all small shops report completed work to this service.
Other factors to look out for here include the number of owners. As a general rule of thumb, the more owners a car had, the higher the chances of neglect. Young male owners are also more likely to have driven the vehicle hard. Has the vehicle been thoroughly inspected by a mechanic before you view it?
Look for fluid stains on the engine or beneath the vehicle. Are there any engine or exhaust system parts that look worn out? If so, the car may not be of great value. Don't forget to check the condition of the car's interior and exterior for signs of damage or neglect.
Even minor accidents can affect the overall integrity of a vehicle. And the more serious the damage, the higher the chances that the car will never be the same again. There's a chance that the frame is slightly bent, the suspension may be damaged, or the engine has replacement parts that aren't OEM certified. Carfax reports are a great way of determining whether a vehicle has had any collision repairs.
For your peace of mind - order a mechanical inspection. Similarly, take it to a body shop and ask the tech to identify any new bodywork. When you test drive it, listen for any strange sounds, spot steering problems, or rough shifting. Any of these may be the result of an accident. While you're at it, try out all the electrical gadgets such as windows, mirrors, moon roof, etc., since accidents can loosen the wiring. Unaligned headlights may also indicate a crash.
All of these examples and more can make a massive difference between two similar models. Know what to look out for and do your research. Leave as little to chance as possible, and you can be sure to spot the best value-to-money car in the dealership. Mike Duman Auto is at your service with whatever questions that you might have. Check out our inventory and contact us today for a test drive!