How to Purchase a Used Car that Will Last

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, this month we’re focusing on all things automotive because of the AMAZING deal we have going on with our 30-Day No Interest Auto Title Loans. In our previous auto related posts we’ve been focusing on the best ways to maintain the value of your vehicle so that you can keep the value as high as possible but we understand that not everybody has a great car right now, and some people are still in the market to purchase a quality used car. For those reasons in today’s post we’re going to talk about the best way to find a quality used vehicle.

First and foremost, you need to decide what kind of car you are looking for. Walking onto a used car sales lot with only a notion that you want a car is like walking into a grocery store with the idea of getting something to eat. You often leave with something that looked good at the time, but learn to regret later.

What kind of vehicle do you want to buy? Truck, minivan, car, or SUV? What features do you need on it—i.e. 4 wheel drive? What features do you want on it—i.e. moon roof? How much are you willing to spend? How many miles do you usually drive a year (track back your mileage through oil changes to figure this out)? Narrow down these specifics so that your research will have a driving purpose.

With those specifics hammered out, begin researching the types of cars that fit your specifications. Find out what common problems occur and when they can be expected. Learn the mileage and age that these vehicles tend to die out.

What’s the History?

Learning their “medical history” will help you ask the right questions as you begin your search for the cars you’ve chosen. For example, you are looking for a used Toyota Tacoma. You find a 2002 on the market at a nearby dealership with only 140,000 miles on it. Through your research, you’ve found that these trucks tend to start having problems well after 200,000 miles (when they’re well taken care of).

This is an instant candidate for your list. Most people don’t put more than 10-15,000 miles on their vehicles a year. With proper maintenance, you could use this car for well over half a decade. With more specifics you could better predict how long that truck would be useful to you.

Now that it’s a candidate, go check it out. Ask about its history. Check Kelly Blue Book’s estimation of value. Get more detailed information from the VIN number if it’s available. Learn the car’s history and let that speak for itself.

When you’re looking through the car’s history, check for important problems. Major problems with the engine can often mean problems in the immediate future. A bad engine is expensive and difficult to replace. The repairs often cost more than the vehicle is worth. Avoid cars with a history of engine trouble.
Find out what problems are common to the vehicle you will be inspecting before you visit the lot. Look for those problems. If they are honestly absent, then that can be an indication of a well-taken care of vehicle.

Lower mileage is often an indicator that the car is in better working condition. The higher mileage on a vehicle is often an indication of wear and tear. Overall, the cars parts aren’t working together like they used to (like a person in old age).

How Old is Too Old?

Anything 160,000 and above is getting too old. Even with proper maintenance, many of these cars are getting ready to kick the bucket (even if it is in 50,000 more miles).

Test drive the car when you get to it. Do all of the lights work (particularly “check engine” or “service engine” sign)? If they don’t then the bulb could be bad, or disconnected for the sale. Be wary of cars that are missing that sign. Pay attention to how it feels. Is it smooth? Does it turn well? When you brake, does the wheel pull to the left or right? See if it’s working right. If something doesn’t feel right, pay attention to that feeling, even if you can’t place your finger on it.

Be able to walk away from a car that you’re unsure about. Just because you are getting a car with low mileage, doesn’t mean that you are getting a car without problems. The quality of the entire car needs to be assessed, not just the simple numbers.

So even though the numbers may look good—low mileage and price—the car isn’t necessarily going to last. The deal may be hard to walk away from, but the car you should buy will be a more obvious purchase than that. The mileage and maintenance of the car will scream that this is a good purchase.

Ultimately, your purchase will speak for itself. Once you’ve done the proper research, tested the car for yourself and found it suitable, you can generally make a purchase and find perfect satisfaction in it. Take care when buying a used car.

Better maintained cars retain value on their car. These can help you sell it later or get a title loan should you need one. It’s always best to regularly maintenance your car to keep open the options of a good sale or title loan.

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