The stereotype of a used car is one that’s old, barely road worthy and host to hidden mechanical problems that will only show up after you drive the car off the lot.
But the reality is that buying a ‘previously-owned’ vehicle can be a great way to own and drive a model or trim level you couldn’t otherwise afford. With warranties in the 5-year range, cars lasting much longer than they used to and the fact that car design isn’t really changing that much year-to-year, you can expect a used car to be fairly up-to-date and provide many years and kilometres of worry-free driving.
But you’re still not out of the woods. You don’t know what even relatively ‘new’ used cars have gone through. By using some of the following tips, you can minimize your chances of investing a lot of problems when you buy a used car.
1. CHECK FOR RECALLS
Even brand-new cars can be recalled. While many recalls are for non-crucial repairs, many are important and you’ll need to know if any recalls are in place for the car you want to buy.
2. RESEARCH ONLINE
Not only can you check for recalls on the web, but you can thoroughly research the model too. From owner forums that can give you a fairly clear picture of the pluses and minuses of your target vehicle, to finding the original standard and optional equipment for your model, it’s amazing the variety and amount of information you can find online.
3. LOOK FOR SIMILAR MODELS ON THE ROAD
Rust problems are a primary concern, particularly her in Toronto and the GTA considering how much salt we use on our roads.
You probably already spot lots of the same model of car that you intend to buy. But instead of checking out how good they look, try to get a closer look at their body panels. Make note of the location of any concentrations of rust on the body. As you look at other models, look for the rust in the same places and patterns. Now you know where to look for rust on the car you want to buy.
Of course, there are lots of other tips for finding the right used car, minimizing its price and checking its roadworthiness. But the tips above are designed to help you get a better understanding of the car so you can make a more informed decision when you decide to buy.