Buying a brand-new vehicle isn't always the most practical decision. In fact, many drivers prefer purchasing used vehicles for a number of reasons. While buying used — whether at a dealership or through a third party — may be the easier, less expensive option, there are still several things you should consider before handing over your hard-earned cash. Keep reading for just three of the most important things to think about when buying a used vehicle.
The Vehicle's History
If you're buying used, then the first thing you'll want to look into is the history of the vehicle. There are several major companies that offer trustworthy reports detailing the vehicle's previous ownership, accident history, and whether the vehicle was used in a personal or commercial capacity. Cars or trucks that have been in major accidents in the past may be at risk for additional repairs that might not be immediately obvious. Furthermore, vehicles that were used by rental agencies, for example, may have a higher degree of wear and tear than similar models. If the vehicle has a clean history, then you can feel that much more comfortable about buying.
Heat and Air Conditioning
First-time buyers of used vehicles often tend to fixate on the exterior of a car. While it's true that things like the tires and frame should be thoroughly examined, don't neglect interior aspects of the car as well. This is especially true for the heating and air conditioning system. Make sure that both are able to operate with maximum airflow for extended periods of time, both while idling and driving. Listen closely for unusual noises made by the climate control system so that you can avoid having to deal with costly repairs later on. You may also want to request that the seller fill the air conditioning system with refrigerant even if there are no other major issues.
If you are planning to purchase a vehicle that is only a year or two old, then it's likely you're still covered by the vehicle's original warranty. On the other hand, a vehicle that has already accrued significant mileage or is more than five years old is almost certain to have an expired warranty. If you're purchasing through a dealership, ask about the possibility of getting an extended warranty that will cover the vehicle for a few more years. While this isn't possible in every case, a warranty can provide you with the peace of mind that's invaluable when buying used.