8 tips for buying a used car.

Okay you are probably thinking what does this have to do with Health!  Remember, I said my blog is about financial health as well as physical and mental Health!

There are several reasons to purchase a used car.  Perhaps it is not in the budget to buy a new car.  Perhaps you would like to have a car that a teenager can drive and you don’t want a brand new one.  Maybe you like a model of car that they no longer make.

vehicleWe just bought a used car, my son bought a beater a few months ago and he likes the model a lot.  So we looked for the same model and purchased the car.  So far so good right?  (Ha ha, no not right, hence the7 tips to help you buy a used car)


You can buy a car from a dealership, sometimes there is still a warrenty and sometimes they want to sell you an add-on warrenty.  Or you can buy for a private party and trust your gut.

We looked at dealerships, even test drove a couple of cars, they didn’t pass my good car test. So we looked in craigslist and started making calls.

Tip number 1:  Check all options, look at dealerships, and look at private parties as well.  With used cars you have to choose from what is available.  

We like to look at autotrader.com and see what’s out there, they will list both cars by dealer and private party as well.  Then check out craigslist you can search for cars in your city or type of car etc.  

Tip number 2: (Maybe this should be tip number 1)  Take your time, don’t be in too much of a hurry, it’s easy to miss something or get something you are not really happy with when it is essential to get a car right now.  So whenever possible plan ahead.

Tip number 3:  If at all possible take it to your mechanic and have him give it a once over.  Often a dealer will let you do this.  

Tip number 4:  There are advantages of going through a dealer; for instance if you buy from a dealer they often already have a carfax on the car.  They have warrenties they can sell you.  They will often fix small things you notice before you buy.  My husbands favorite they will title and tag the car for you and you don’t have to go stand in line at the DMV.  

Tip number 5:  There can be advantages of going with a private party as well.  It is sometimes easier and less expensive to buy from a private party.  Usually you decide pretty quickly if you want it, you agree on a price, pay them and the car is yours!

Tip number 6:  If you feel qualified to know a good car when you see it, you might want to go to a private party.  There are a couple of things to check.  Has the car got current inspection stickers for the area you live in?  If you live in a place where it has to have emissions inspection has that been done, ask to see it?

Tip number 7:  Google consumer reviews of the year and model of the car you are thinking of looking at.  Once you read the reviews you know if that is likely to be a good choice.

Tip number 8:  I usually get excited and forget something, so take a list of what you want to check.  Here is a brief list you may want to add more things:

a. check oil and transmission fluid levels, and observe if they are clean, dirty how they smell.

b. Roll all the windows down and up a few times.

c.  Check and make sure all the lights work properly.

d.  Check the charging outlets do they work?

e.  Do both Air conditioning and Heat work?

f.  Test drive it on the highway as well as in town, does it shake or shimmy at higher speeds?  Does the transmission shift smoothly?

g.  Make sure you put it in reverse, make sure that works too.

h.  Check all the tires, walk around the car looking for any problems, then go inside and look for any problems.  It is a used car so there will be problems, are they something you can either fix or live with?

I realized that I didn’t do a few of these things, lucky for me, the car still seems to be in good shape, although we have to do some repairs for it to pass emissions.  I didn’t think to ask to see that paper.  Would I have still bought the car?  Maybe, I would have asked to have my mechanic tell me what was wrong first, and I would have paid a lower price.

If you are in the market for a used car happy hunting.  I hope you found something useful in this blog!  Let me know in the comments below.






admin September 14, 2016 living better