If you’ve ever purchased a house, you know how important the initial home inspection is to identify potential problems. Without one, you run the risk of buying real estate’s version of a “lemon.” The same logic applies to used cars and vehicle history reports: Although you can buy a pre-owned vehicle sans a Carfax or AutoCheck report, it’s never in your best interest.
Getting a vehicle history report is one thing, but understanding its contents is another story. Here are some red flags to look out for as you dig up dirt on a used car’s past.
With any purchase, it’s important to know what you’re buying. Especially if its been used, worn, lived in or driven! Before you buy anything, you need to know the basics: The who, what, when, where and why’s. It’s the same with a used car.
Here’s some things you should consider before you purchase a used vehicle:
Number of Owners
How many owners has it had? Has it been a rental? Ask about the person who sold the car. Did they mostly use it for daily commuting? Were they good about keeping up with regular maintenance?
Has the car been in an accident or ever been in a flood? CARFAX and Autocheck are known as being the best record for the history of a vehicle. (Check out my post on what you’ll find on a CARFAX Vehicle History Report.
) You should also ask for any service or maintence records on the car.
Ask what the dealership does to inspect used vehicles. What does that inspection include? McCarthy dealerships perform a vehicle inspection on every used vehicle before it hits the lot. It has to pass the inspection in order to be sold.
Is it a certified vehicle? Each manufacturer offers a different certification, so make sure to ask what is covered.
This is just a starting point. For more ideas, check out 10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car
on Cars for Girls.
What question do you wish you would have asked before buying your last used car?