10 Things to Look for When Buying a Used Car

If you’re in the market for a used car, there are some things to keep in mind to ensure you don’t get a lemon. Here are the top ten things to look for.

Every year, there are more than 40 million used cars sold throughout the country. People often choose to buy used cars as opposed to new ones to save a little bit of money.

If you’re in the market for a used car at the moment, you shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking one that you like down. There are millions of used cars for sale as of right now just waiting for new owners.

But before you buy one through a private seller or one of the many used car dealerships, there are some things you should look for. Here are ten things people need to consider prior to picking out a used car and purchasing it.

1. How Old Is a Used Car?

The first thing you should consider when you’re interested in a used car is how old it is. You can obviously tell its age based on what year it was manufactured.

Ideally, most people like to buy used cars that were made within the last five to ten years. Many cars only last about eight years on average, so you don’t want to get something too much older than that.

2. How Many People Have Owned It?

In addition to looking at how old a car is, you should also look at how many other people have owned it prior to you buying it. In a perfect world, you want to buy a used car from the original owner, if possible.

If there has only been one other person who has owned a used car, you’ll be able to find out everything you need to know about it. If, on the other hand, multiple people have owned it, you might not be able to learn about how well it’s been maintained over the years.

3. How Many Miles Are On It?

One of the other things you’re going to want to ask about as soon as you show interest in a used car is how many miles are on it. You don’t want to invest in a car that has well over 100,000 miles on it, especially if you suspect it hasn’t been maintained well.

You shouldn’t necessarily be scared off by a car with a lot of miles on it if the owner of it has gone above and beyond to maintain it. But the more miles a car has on it, the more wear and tear it has taken on. It would be better buying something with fewer miles.

4. Are There Any Mechanical Issues With It?

The last thing you want to do is buy a used car and then immediately have to take it to an auto repair shop to have it fixed. It’s why it’s essential to see if there are any mechanical issues with a car prior to buying it.

One of the biggest differences between buying a new vs used car is that a new car will almost always have no mechanical issues at all. There will always be at least a small chance a used car could have these kinds of issues.

5. How Does It Look on the Outside?

If you’re considering buying one of the really cheap used cars, you might not be too concerned about what it looks like on the outside. As long as it’s mechanically sound, you might overlook the imperfections on the exterior of it.

But if you’re going to be paying over $10,000 for a used car, you probably don’t want it to look like a hunk of junk. You should walk around the outside of it and inspect it for any blemishes before buying it.

6. Is the Inside in Good Shape?

Outside of checking out the exterior of a car for imperfections, you should also do the same thing on the inside.

Most used cars are going to look like someone has been driving around in them for a few years because, well, they have. But you can find used cars with almost immaculate interiors if you look hard enough.

7. Has It Been Involved in Any Accidents?

Regardless of whether you’re buying a used car from a private seller or one of your local used car lots, you should always (always!) ask for a vehicle history report. It’ll let you know if a car has been involved in any accidents.

Be wary about buying a car that has been in an accident and repaired. It could have some underlying issues that won’t present themselves until later on.

8. Are There Any Recalls Out for It?

Auto manufacturers put out recalls for their vehicles all the time. They do it so that they can fix parts of cars that might cause problems for car owners.

Take a look at whether or not a used car you’re thinking about buying has a recall on it. It could save you from having to get it fixed at some point down the line.

9. Does It Have All the Features You Want?

Just because you’re buying a used car instead of a new one doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on all the features you want. If you’re up for the challenge, you can find a used car with every last feature in it.

10. How Long Is It Expected to Last?

There are some used cars that are going to last you a whole lot longer than others. You should see how long a car is expected to last prior to buying it.

You might be able to buy some used cars with more than 100,000 miles on them that will give you another 100,000 miles easy. Those are the kinds of cars you want to go after.

Think About These Things Before You Buy a Used Car

Buying a used car can be a little bit overwhelming for some people. But you can work your way through it by looking for the things mentioned here

Just make sure you steer clear of falling in love with a used car and rushing into a deal right away. You’ll usually regret it when you do since you won’t give yourself enough time to make a smart decision.

Tom Brown
Tom Brown is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United States. He holds a diverse background in automotive marketing and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.