What do you need to know before buying a preowned vehicle?

There are many reasons why you might consider purchasing a preowned vehicle. What’s important is for you to take the time to perform certain tasks before you hand over your hard-earned money for that used car. Failure to do so can cost you big money in auto repairs in the long run.

Inspect the Vehicle

It’s important that you look over the entire vehicle and examine things like wear on the gas, brake, or clutch pedals. Check to be sure all the tools–like the jack and spare tire–are available and in good working order. Open the glove box and look for the user’s manual and maintenance schedule. Check the maintenance schedule to see if regular oil changes, tire rotations, etc., have been done on their proper schedule.

Check the tires for wear and odd tread patterns. These issues can indicate a problem with wheel alignment or suspension. Look over all the vehicle panels and check for mismatched paint that may indicate a damaged panel was replaced or repainted.

Inspect the Engine Compartment

It’s time to raise the hood and give the engine and engine compartment a good look. Check the oil dipstick. If the oil is black or has an acrid odor, it’s a sign the oil change schedule was unlikely to have been maintained. Check all the fluids and look for possible leaks or shiny new parts that were very recently replaced. Confirm that all the fluids are the proper color and consistency of a healthy engine.

Test Drive

Take the vehicle for a test drive, preferably on both surface-level streets and the highway. Pay attention to the sounds the engine and transmission make, how the vehicle brakes, and how smooth the ride is. Clunks and bangs coming from the engine can mean major auto repairs later. Poor braking indicates a need for brake repair or replacement, and a bouncy ride can mean problems with the suspension.

Take it to a Mechanic

One of the best things you can do before buying a preowned vehicle is to take it to your mechanic for inspection. They’ll be able to show you any issues the vehicle has and give you an idea of what it might cost to repair it. If you’re in the Tacoma, WA, area, give Cooper’s Auto Repair and Services a call and make an appointment to have the used car you’re considering looked over.

Written by Coopers Auto Repair Specialists

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