Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Are the Most Commonly Overlooked Issues When Buying a Used Car?

overlooked issues

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...

Related questions

Q: I saw this car, and the owner is selling it,

Vehicles that were badly wrecked will usually get a salvage title, which means the vehicle damage was estimated to be more than roughly 70% of the value of the vehicle. Also, from personal experience, anyone with a salvage title car...

Q: I want to buy this car, but there is terrible smell from cigarettes. How can I get rid of totally and is it possible at all?

Hi there, thanks for writing in. I recommend you check out our article here on how to get rid of a smell in your car. Cigarette smell can be difficult to remove from certain materials: cloths, carpets, and even the...

Q: I want to know whether to buy a 2014 Subaru Legacy

Hi there: Actually, if I were you, I'd be glad to see that 2,500 mile oil change. It shows me that the owner is proactive about vehicle maintenance and not that you've got an oil burning car at all. The...