When buying a used car, having an in-depth inspection of the vehicle is the best way to approach this type of purchase. If a professional is not present, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint every single thing wrong with the vehicle you are trying to purchase.
Here are some common overlooked issues when buying a used car:
Keys, locks, remote controls, and other accessories: Make sure the seller is providing you with all necessary keys, key fobs, and remotes that go with the vehicle. For instance, if the car has wheel locks, make sure the seller provides you with the proper wheel lock key or socket. Also make sure the car comes with the owner’s manual, any extended warranty documents and service records, as well as a spare tire, jack, and tools.
Verify that the pink slip gives you clear title: Make sure that there are no liens against the car – in other words, that no bank or other party still holds an interest in the vehicle. On the pink slip, you will see the owner’s name and any lien holders listed. “Lien holders” should either be blank or any holders will have signed off as “lien-satisfied.” Simply make sure that all owners have signed off on the car before going through with a purchase.
Understand a salvage title: A vehicle pink slip may list a vehicle as having a salvage title. What this means is that at one time in the car's life, an insurance company recorded the vehicle as totaled, indicating that the car has been in a major accident with repair costs higher than the vehicle’s value. Buyer beware: some of these salvage vehicles may have extensive problems, have voided warranties, and/or not be eligible for comprehensive auto insurance. If you need further information about the difference between clean and salvaged titles, consider exploring the What is the Difference Between a Clean Title and a Salvage Title article.
If you're considering buying a used car, it's a good idea to get it thoroughly inspected. Contact YourMechanic about our 150 point pre-purchase car inspection. One of our certified mobile mechanics will take a close look and give you a detailed report on its condition. It's a great way to feel assured and confident about your purchase.