Used Car Inspection Checklist: Easy Strategy For Savings

January 27, 2012

If you want to save money on your next used vehicle purchase, it would be smart to go through a used car inspection checklist. Whether you're buying a Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, or a BMW M3, you'll want to follow these steps for an easy strategy for savings.

Step 1: Price Your Potential Purchase

The first thing to do when considering a used vehicle purchase is to get an idea of the amount of money you should be spending for the car you desire. Go to trusted automotive value calculating websites such as Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com) and Edmunds (www.edmunds.com) and input the required information. By doing this, you'll get an idea about its price. Additionally, go to online automotive dealers such as CarMax (www.carmax.com) and Vehix (www.vehix.com) to find out if any of the used cars that are available for sale in your local area interest you. Then, compare their prices to the estimates of KBB and Edmunds.

Step 2: Inspect and Test Drive The Car

When you get to the dealership or place of private sale, thoroughly look over the vehicle's interior and exterior. Look for any scratches, dents, or problems with the car's exterior parts. Next, inspect the interior and pay attention to it's quality and functionality. Make sure that the windows, locks, radio and other features work to your liking. After you look over the vehicle, take it for a test drive. Give it some gas, step on the brakes, and make some tough turns. See how it performs and take note of things like its gas mileage (MPG) and fuel economy. Then, you'll get a better idea if it's the car that may be right for you.

Step 3: Ask About The Warranty

The warranties that come with used cars can vary widely. Many will come with no warranty at all, while others will still have some remainder of the original manufacturer's warranty, and others may have some sort of tacked-on extended warranty. Some cheap used cars may not be worth the money if future repair costs become high, so you'll want to know about any included warranty that may come with your purchase.

Step 4: Obtain a Used Car Report

By obtaining the used car's vehicle identification number (VIN number), you can use reliable car history report services such as CarFax and AutoCheck to learn many details about the vehicle's history. You'll know if it's ever been used as a commercial vehicle, if it's ever been involved in any major accidents, and get a list of its maintenance reports. If you really want to be sure about a used car's condition, pay a few dollars and get a quality used car report.

Whether you're buying a big SUV to tear through some country roads or a Toyota for good gas mileage, you want to be sure that you're getting a decent value for your money. Follow the steps in this article as an easy strategy for savings when buying used cars.