What Steps Must I Take Before Buying a Used Car?

Buying a used car can feel like a very scary situation when it's your first time doing so. There are so many options and sometimes people can be impulsive and end up getting a vehicle that doesn't suit them.

Follow these tips to ensure optimum wellness of your car:

  1. Do your research: It is important to do proper research on the car you're considering buying. You'll have tons of options when it comes to buying a car, so arm yourself with as much information as possible before you make a big decision. When you find a car that piques your interest, ensure there are no major potential problems with it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a list of recalls and Technical Service Bulletins, which will tell you about issues with the car.

  2. You found a car you like. Here’s what to do before meeting the seller: You'll want to know if the car has been in any accidents, has failed smog checks, or had other past issues. Get the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) from the seller, which you can use to learn about the car. CarFax is a good source of car history, taking data from insurance companies, shops, and other providers. Also be sure you know your budget, as well as the fair price and full cost of ownership of the car. There are many online resources for determining the average cost of ownership of a particular car. We also recommend getting an insurance quote as well as pricing on registration fees.

  3. When you meet the seller: Always test drive the car. Ask a lot of questions about the car, including why the owner is selling it and whether they have any service records showing regular maintenance. Visually inspect the car’s exterior and interior to see that they are in acceptable condition, and check for signs of accidents or damage. During the test drive, listen for any strange noises coming from the car during acceleration or braking. Be sure to take the car out on a freeway to ensure it operates properly at high speeds. Test the brakes several times during the drive, braking both hard and normally to determine responsiveness. Check the dashboard for any warning lights. Make sure all the various controls (wipers, blinkers, radio, etc.) and the air conditioning and heating systems work.

  4. Get a professional inspection: If you like the car and it is in good condition, have a certified mechanic do a pre-sale inspection to ensure you are buying a clean, mechanically sound vehicle. Our mechanic's inspection will cover the fluids, brakes, electrical systems, cooling system, suspension, engine/exhaust, HVAC, tires, and body. The mechanic will scan the car's various computers for trouble codes and test drive the vehicle, checking for any hidden problems. Should our mechanic discover any problems, he can estimate repair costs and you can use those to better negotiate with the seller. If you would like a step by step guide, consider exploring the How to Conduct a Pre-Purchase Inspection article.


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Recent Pre-purchase Car Inspection reviews

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4,601
176
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38
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4,601
176
36
38
78

Adam

17 years of experience
158 reviews
Adam
17 years of experience
Jeep Wrangler L6-4.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - West Palm Beach, Florida
Adam arrived on time for my sight unseen vehicle purchase pre-inspection and called me right after he was done to talk about the issues in the comments I left for him prior to his arrival. He was articulate, well spoken, and explained things to a tech geek in a way I could wrap my head around. Will definitely be requesting him in the future if I have anymore jobs in FL.
Lexus GX470 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - West Palm Beach, Florida
very thorough on his inspection. responds to all of my messages. very pleasant to talk to. highly recommended

Miguel

21 years of experience
184 reviews
Miguel
21 years of experience
Mini Cooper L4-2.0L Turbo - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Teterboro, New Jersey
I booked a pre-purchase inspection through YourMechanic.com and Miguel Medina did the inspection. Miguel was very thorough and professional and answered all of my specific questions promptly and completely. I am completely satisfied with Miguel's service and advice and with the YourMechanic.com service.
Infiniti G35 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Totowa, New Jersey
Miguel is professional he arrived to the appointment early and did a through inspection of the vehicle we are interested in purchasing.

Jeffrey

16 years of experience
85 reviews
Jeffrey
16 years of experience
Chevrolet Express 2500 V8-4.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Pinellas Park, Florida
Super cool guy. Did a very thorough inspection! I felt confident with my purchase after he checked it out. Seemed to be very knowledgeable and gave his honest opinion about the vehicle.
BMW 328xi - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Largo, Florida
Great Communications, and thorough assessment and evaluation of the vehicle. He clearly communicated the immediate needs of the car and also noted the items working well. Thanks for a great report, it definitely helps me make a decision!

Christopher

20 years of experience
271 reviews
Christopher
20 years of experience
Lexus RX350 V6-3.5L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Tampa, Florida
I hired Christopher to do a follow-up pre-purchase inspection to take a look at the dealership service repairs for issues he previously found and he was able to verify their work and even find a couple of new issues the dealership also addressed. He saved in several hundred of dollars of work and his reports were very detailed and thorough.
Lexus RX350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Tampa, Florida
Christopher provided a very detailed report for my Pre-Purchase Inspection. He helped catch some issues my dealership later agreed to fix to close out the deal.

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