Estimated Time to Read: 2 minutes

The first major purchase most teens and adults will ever make is a car, and more often than not, that car comes right off a used car lot. While any time you buy a used car is an exciting experience, don’t let that new car smell get in the way of doing your due diligence before you sign the paperwork.  Car buyers always need to check-out the following when sizing any new car up for the road ahead.

  1. What does the car look like? Is the paint peeling? IS the interior stained, faded or cracked? Are the tires bald? These are all visual indications of how well the car has been taken care of. If the previous owner didn’t take care of these basic cosmetic issues, do you really think they took care of the more important mechanical issues?
  2. What does the car sound like? Take the car for a test drive and just listen as it speaks to you. Is the engine idling smoothly, or does it sound like it’s missing more beats than Nickelback? Does the car sound “sealed” or do you hear the wind rushing by even though the windows are rolled up? How do the brakes sound? Consider these things very carefully as they are all indications of a car’s mechanical reliability.
  3. What is the car’s age, mileage, and make? These are all important because older cars with high mileage may be less expensive initially, but they are more likely to need a little extra TLC to keep them cruising down the road. Furthermore, while that 30 year old BMW might look enticing, finding parts for it and a mechanic who knows how to fix it will be more difficult and expensive than if you choose a 5 year old Honda.
  4. What is the car’s service history? These days, it is easy to go to a site like Carfax and find out if the car has had any major problems in the past. The few dollars you will spend checking out the vehicle’s history will not only tell you what the previous owner did with it, but it will show you whether or not the car is prone to specific problems that you should be aware of.
  5. What are your vehicle needs? If you’re a family-man, then the coupe might be appealing on the lot, but it won’t go over so well when you try and cram the wife and kids in on the way to soccer practice.

By considering all these things before you sign on the dotted line, you will be better assured that the new “used” car will be driving you down the roads for many miles ahead.

Mercedes Potter is an elite writer who always tries to look out for the best interest of the consumer. As a victim of an unreliable used car, she provides tips on what to look for when car shopping. If you need more information on used cars in Mission, TX, follow her on Twitter @CedesPotter.