Pre-owned Vehicle Purchasing Tips to Put in Your Toolbox

2016 FIAT 500X Pop SUV

You might have heard of the old cliche of kicking the tires when shopping for a used car.  The history behind this is a long time ago, when many cars still had wooden spokes or wire spokes on their wheels, you could tell if a car had a bad axle just by kicking the tires. Or if the tire itself was worn out, any bump might cause a patch to fail and really deflate the dealer’s mood if you found out.


Today kicking a tire on a car won’t tell you much about buying a pre-owned car, but it might hurt your foot.  Instead, consider these tips to checking out a pre-owned vehicle, which just might give you the edge you need in choosing a car that is right for you.

  • It’s not the years, but the miles.  Many cars, depending on how often or well they were serviced will develop major issues after the 100k mile mark.  You might be looking at replacements down the road for parts such as power steering pumps, valves, and even transmissions.
  • Check the oil.  Pulling the dipstick on the motor will tell you something about the condition of a vehicle.  The darker the oil, the more metal and burn fragments are floating around the motor.  Clearer fluid means less wear on a motor.  Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
  • Check the warranty.  Even if the manufacturer boasts a 100,000 mile drivetrain warranty, being the second or third owner might not mean you are covered.  Consider an extended warranty to keep your vehicle on the road.
  • The little things.  Check out the way the windows roll up and down, doors lock, or the turn signals function.  If it seems like it isn’t working right, it probably isn’t.  This might be a repair to work in on the deal, or have as a condition of sale.
  • Test drive with the radio off.  Something like a burned out wheel bearing can cost you money further down the road.  Literally.  Listen to the vehicle when you drive it.  The stereo might be great, but having a motor that doesn’t tick and brakes that don’t squeal is more important to listen for.

You don’t need to be a mechanic to be savvy about your car buying experience.  Trust your gut and hold your ground and you’ll get exactly what you pay for.  Contact us to start your happy motoring!

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