It’s always exciting to buy a car. Even if you are buying a new car, it will be better than what you have, so it can be a thrilling experience. However, anyone looking for a car should know what to look for when buying a car.
Knowing what to look for includes both the car itself but also other things that can be on the paperwork, insurance, and in financing. Below are some tips from Veritas Global Protection on things to be aware of when looking at cars.
Ask for a CarFax
Always get a CarFax report for a used car so you know the vehicle’s history. A report will tell you the starting price new, how many owners have had the car, where the car has been, and whether it’s been in any wrecks. You want a vehicle that has had few owners and no wrecks.
Understand the Car’s Maintenance
It’s important to know whether the car was primarily used in colder climates or hot and humid areas. Cars used in northern areas tend to have more rust from salt and snow. It’s also vital to know other factors like if it’s been garage-kept, smoked in, or received regular maintenance.
You should ask to see all maintenance records to see what’s been done. Be sure to get paperwork showing the car passed emissions.
Look at the Mileage
It’s always best if a car has lower mileage because that determines how much it was driven. Look for cars that have been driven less than 12,000 a year since it was manufactured. Prices should drop substantially for vehicles with more than 100,000 in mileage.
Inspect the Car
The car inspection should be thorough, and you should know what to be aware of what to look for as you walk around it. Check the tires to see how much tread they have left. Make sure the wear is even because uneven wear could mean a frame issue.
Look underneath to see if there are any oil or fluid leaks. While you’re there, look for rust. Check the roof to see if there is any rust on the roof. Pull up mats in the truck and on the floorboard to see if there is any mold or rust.
Be sure to check to see if the car has been flooded. This will be apparent if the carpeting is wet, has mold, or appears to be bubbling. Flooding can also be indicated if there are ants in the car.
Those who want to pay for a complete inspection can call a third-party vendor or a local mechanic to come to give the car, engine, and exhaust a once over.
Full-service inspections can cost up to $200, but they are worth it if you aren’t sure what to look for on your own.
Take a Drive
Drive the car quietly without the radio on so you can hear any noises. Be sure to drive the car straight to check the alignment and make a couple of braking stops to check those.
Test the radio and other features while parked to ensure they work. Also, check the air and heat, even if the weather doesn’t call for either. When parked, try every feature on the car to ensure everything works.
Check Insurance Costs
Part of the cost of owning a car is paying for insurance and some cars have higher insurance premiums. New, more expensive, high-powered, brightly-colored cars will cost more. Buyers should figure this into their decision.
Check Financing Options
Car dealers have a variety of financing options, and some options are set for certain cars. Look for zero-percent financing. Negotiate the deal before you choose any financing or tell them you are paying in cash.
Sometimes, the type of deal you get depends on the financing your choose. Those paying in cash may not get the best deal because car dealers make more money from financing, so it pays to reach a deal before deciding how to pay.
Calculate the Payments Yourself
It’s easy to trust a dealer and just sign the paperwork so you can drive away. However, your signature confirms you agree to what’s in the paperwork, so if there’s an error, you could still be bound to it.
Take the time to read the paperwork and run the payment and interest calculations yourself so you know the real cost of the car and what payments should be. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications or corrections before you sign.
Protect Your Investment
A car is one of the biggest investments you can ever make. Since it costs thousands of dollar to purchase a car, you should do all you can to protect it.
One way to do that is with Veritas Global Protection. Veritas offers protection plans that cover many major and minor repairs on your car. This is especially important when you buy a used car because you are buying it “as it” without a warranty from a private seller or car dealer.
Once you drive off the lot or away from the private property, the car is your responsibility.
Getting a vehicle protection plan saves you money because it will cost less money out-of-pocket if something breaks or needs replacing. This can save a lot of money for big-ticket repairs like engine problems.
Following the guidelines for buying and protecting your car will allow you to focus on enjoying your new purchase.