Advice for buying a used car

Advice for buying a used car

One of the most difficult purchases we make is an automobile. Don’t allow emotion to confuse your actions. After you purchase a new or pre-owned automobile, you are likely to own it for several years, so don’t be rushed in the process. Take the time to make an intelligent decision.

When you are comfortable in the choice of used car you choose to buy, be conscious of the objective. Be informed on the product and what to look for when inspecting a pre-owned automobile. 

Select a shop or dealership to have an inspection performed. When purchasing from a dealership, find another source for inspection. Make certain the objective of the shop that performs the inspection is influenced only by your need for an honest, clean and accurate inspection.

However, before you invest in the time and cost of the inspection, take time to perform your own “once-over” on the car. Begin with a cosmetic inspection. If the car is dinged up or really dirty, that could be an indication of what is ahead. 

Check all the fluid levels and fluid condition. If low, this could be another indicator. Check the tires for uneven wear, which usually means poor alignment and neglect. If these items check out, look at the maintenance records. Look for services that were performed at a qualified service center. 

If everything looks good, check for wear on the drivers seat, carpet beneath the drivers feet, brake pedal pad and top of the steering wheel. These are areas that will receive significant wear in normal driving. 

Now that you’re almost ready to invest in the costs of a professional inspection, road test the car. If you feel confident you’ve found a good one, find a place for inspection where the technicians are trained and qualified to perform it. Be aware that a familiar franchise name doesn’t necessarily mean they are familiar with the type automobile you’re looking to purchase.

Once you’re ready to buy, there are several websites that can help you to determine market value of the car. Some of the sites will also help to check for history, re-calls and safety related issues. If your pre-purchase inspection is satisfactory, you are satisfied with the history and safety of the car and comfortable with the price, all that is left is to make the purchase. 

About this Angie’s List Expert: Martin Cook is the owner of EuroWerks, providing auto service in repair in Dunwoody, Ga. Opening in 2003, EuroWerks specializes in the maintenance, support, service and repair of BMW, MINI and Mercedes automobiles and utilizes factory diagnostic tools for auto maintenance.

As of July 11, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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