If you're in the market for a gently used car, you may find yourself shocked at the seemingly high prices being asked of many vehicles whose new-car smell faded long ago. With this in mind, a used car can often be a good investment for budget-conscious drivers, as these affordable vehicles can provide years of trusty service with minimal maintenance needs.
However, most makes and models tend to share some common issues when it comes to repairs, so knowing what to look for (and avoid) can ensure you spend your money wisely. Read on for three things you'll want to note when purchasing a used car.
Suspicious Leaks, Smells, and Drips
A mysterious puddle under a vehicle for sale can often be a red flag. If you're viewing the car in the driveway where it's normally parked, you may want to pay special attention to the driveway's condition. Multiple dried puddles of different colors and diameters, even if not from the car itself, can be a sign of an owner who doesn't take good care of their vehicles. Strange smells when the vehicle is started (or the heater or air conditioner is turned on) can also indicate a myriad of potential problems you may not want to inherit.
Vehicles that have been driven regularly (if only for a few miles each time), stored indoors, and washed frequently are far more likely to age well, so you shouldn't let fear of an "old" vehicle deter you if you come across one that's clearly been well cared for. Before you go on a test drive (or even just to look at a car in which you're interested), you may want to look up reviews for that model year to see whether drivers have experienced any common issues with that year, make, and model.
Engine and Motor
Any knocking, rattling, or other strange sounds (either at startup or after the vehicle has been idling a few minutes) can be a dangerous sign. The last thing you want to do is pay for major engine repairs on your new-to-you vehicle.
The mid-four figure repairs for a new engine or transmission can make the "keep it or junk it?" question a tough one for many car owners. On the other hand, used vehicles with well over 100,000 miles that have already had their engines replaced, or that have undergone regular oil changes and whose engines hum along with no signs of damage may still be wise investments.
The Model Year
Certainly, many older vehicles on the road today are reliable and trouble-free, and those who have some automotive knowledge are well-poised to find proverbial diamonds in the rough when browsing vehicles that are 15, 20, or even 30 years old. But those who don't know much about used car shopping or who are concerned about the prospect of hefty repairs while still making a car payment may want to look into late model vehicles to improve their odds of a smart purchase.
Before buying a used car, it's always wise to have the car looked at by a mechanic like those with Professional Automotive to get their opinion on the above issues.Share
1 October 2018
After my car died and I was stranded on the freeway a few years back, I knew that I had to do what I could to avoid similar issues in the future. I began working hard to identify different issues with my car, so that I could prevent problems. I began working with a mechanic to get help, and he taught me a lot about going through my car and being able to evaluate different things that were problems. It was really interesting to explore the possibilities of different car failures, and before I knew it, I could tell when my car was struggling. Read more about the early signs of car trouble on my blog.