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What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

What to Look for When Buying a Used CarPhoto from Unsplash

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Are you thinking of buying a used car? Unsure of where to start and what to look for?

Buying a used car can be a daunting task for many. After all, you don’t want to end up with a lemon that will cost you more time and money to repair later. To ensure that you get the best bang for your buck, there are a few things to look out for before signing on the dotted line.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through what to look for when buying a used car. We’ll cover everything from the steps you need to follow and what things you need to check to how to inspect a car correctly to avoid any nasty surprises. By following these guidelines, you’ll feel confident you’re getting a great deal on a reliable vehicle.

Keep reading to learn more about what you need to consider before buying a used car so you don’t end up making a terrible mistake.

New vs. Used – Which Is Better?

When you’re in the market for a car, you have a choice to make: should you buy a new vehicle or a used vehicle? Both options have their pros and cons, and it can be difficult to decide which is the best option for you.

The benefits of buying a new car are that you get the latest features and technology with the peace of mind that comes with purchasing something new. However, this comes at a price. New cars tend to be more expensive than used cars, and they start depreciating in value from the moment you drive them off the lot.

On the other hand, used cars offer great savings, but there’s always a risk they won’t meet your expectations or will have hidden mechanical problems. That said, today’s used vehicles often come with extended warranties, so you can rest assured knowing that you’ll be covered should any issues arise.

Where’s the Best Place to Buy a Used Car

When it comes to buying a used car, you have plenty of options. You can purchase directly from a private seller, visit a local dealership and buy from their pre-owned lot, or search for cars through an online marketplace.

No matter where you decide to shop, make sure you do your research first. Compare prices between different dealerships and take the time to inspect each vehicle closely before making a purchase. It’s also important to remember that different sellers often have different financing plans available, so be prepared to negotiate if necessary.

Steps You Should Follow When Buying a Used Car

Before purchasing a used car, there are several steps you should take to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

First, start by shopping around and checking out different makes, models, and prices in your area. This will help you get an idea of what’s available and the features that various vehicles offer. Additionally, read reviews from car owners who have driven similar vehicles to get an idea of the pros and cons of each model.

Once you’ve narrowed down your selection of vehicles, decide on a realistic budget for yourself so that you don’t end up overspending on a car that’s not within your means. Figure out how much money you can afford to spend on a car, including any additional expenses like insurance, registration fees, taxes, etc. These costs can add up quickly, so make sure to factor them into your budget when making your decision.

If you don’t have enough cash saved to purchase a car outright, you may need to look at financing options. Compare different lenders and their rates to find the best financing option for you.

The final step before committing is to inspect each car on your shortlist thoroughly. This is an essential step to ensure that all mechanical components of the car are in good condition and that there aren’t any underlying problems with the vehicle.

Tips for What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

The most important thing to do when you’re buying a used car is to check it out in person. Inspecting a car can be intimidating, especially if you’re not mechanically inclined.

The best time to inspect a car is during daylight hours. This ensures you’ll have enough natural light to spot any potential problems and accurately assess any damage to the car’s body.

It’s essential to inspect a used vehicle thoroughly before buying it. Here are some tips for what to look for before sealing the deal:

Study the Bodywork

Starting with the bodywork, look for any visible signs of rust, damage to the paint, or dents in the body. Look for any lousy repair jobs, mismatched paint colors, or signs of a collision. Ask questions directly about the car’s history, such as accidents and any recent maintenance or repair work that might have been done.

Check Out the Tires

Do this with the car parked stationary on a level surface. Ensure all 4 tires are packed with enough air pressure and are the same size. Examine the tires for any uneven tread wear or cracking that could indicate an alignment issue or worn suspension parts.

Open and Close Everything

Open and close all the doors, the hood, and the trunk to ensure they open and close correctly. Do this inside the car for the glove compartment as well. Check the center console to ensure all the latches are functioning correctly and ensure that any electric windows open and close properly.

Look Under the Hood

Get under the hood and check out the engine. Check the fluid levels, and look for any oil or coolant leaks. Make sure the belts, hoses, battery, and other electrical components are in good condition. Look for any signs of corrosion and rust or trouble starting the car.


Another tip is to have a look at the mileage on the car. High mileage can sometimes be an indicator of poor maintenance or a larger underlying problem. Ask the seller about any service records that may have been kept for the vehicle.

Check Out the Interior

Don’t forget to look over the car’s interior and inspect any upholstery for rips, tears, or other signs of wear and tear. Make sure all of the electronics, such as the radio, windows, heating, and air conditioning, are working correctly.

Go for a Test Drive

Once you have completed your visual inspection checks, take the car out for a test drive. Ensure all the lights, brakes, and other safety features are functioning properly. Make sure you feel comfortable in the car and that it runs smoothly on all surfaces. Pay attention to any strange noises or vibrations that could indicate a mechanical issue.

Make Sure It’s Right

It’s essential that you feel confident and safe before you commit to buying a used car. Don’t let salespeople pressure you into buying something that isn’t right for you. Ask about anything you are unsure about during the inspection, and negotiate a fair price for what’s in front of you.

Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

If you want increased peace of mind when buying a used car, you may want to consider purchasing a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle. Certified pre-owned cars are vehicles that have been thoroughly inspected and restored to their near-original condition. CPO vehicles offer many benefits that can make them a more attractive option.

For starters, CPO vehicles must meet certain age and mileage requirements set by the manufacturer. In addition, they must undergo a rigorous inspection process, and any necessary repairs must be made using only genuine parts.

In addition, CPO vehicles often come with extended warranty coverage and other perks, such as complimentary maintenance. Considering all these factors, it’s easy to see why CPO vehicles are often a wise choice for used car shoppers.

How to Finance Your Purchase of a Used Car

Once you find the right car, it’s time to figure out how to finance it. If you decide to finance your used car purchase through a lender, several options exist. Many dealerships offer in-house financing plans or auto loan programs for buyers with good credit scores and financial histories.

Alternatively, some online lenders offer competitive rates and flexible terms for those with less-than-perfect credit. No matter which route you choose, check your credit score first and compare different interest rates from multiple lenders before making a decision. Doing this will help ensure you get the best rate on your loan and save money in the long term.

Buy a Used Vehicle With Confidence

Buying a used car can be an intimidating process. Knowing what to look for when buying a used car can make the process easier. By following these buying tips, you can feel confident about your purchase before signing on the dotted line.

Are you in the market for a Mitsubishi car? If you live in Cherry Hill, NJ, then come check us out at Cherry Hill Mitsubishi. Our lot includes new and certified pre-owned Mitsubishi vehicles and used vehicles from other brands. Our knowledgeable staff are here to help you find the perfect car that meets all your needs. Visit or contact us today!

Happy car shopping!

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