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5 Things To Look For When Buying Used Cars

Finding the perfect used vehicle can be a difficult task. We put together a list of things to look out for when searching for your next used car.

Test Drive

It can be easy to make a quick decision to buy a vehicle, once you are sitting in the driver’s seat. However, buying a used car on a gut feeling can really hurt you in the long run. We have created a test drive checklist to ensure you are buying a reliable used vehicle.

Before the drive

  • Inspect tread of tires
  • Inspect underneath all floor mats and carpet
  • Examine all lights (headlights, brake lights, turn signals)
  • Check A/C, heater, radio
  • Open and close all doors and trunk
  • Check for rust around edges/hinges of car doors

During the drive

  • Watch for pulling to one side or the other
  • Ensure the transmission shifts smoothly
  • Inspect the vehicle’s brakes and ensure the pedal is not squishy
  • Listen for any strange noises the vehicle may be making
  • Feel for any shaking, vibrating of the used car

After the drive

The car salesman will most likely try to bring you back to the office at the dealership to start negotiating a deal. We recommend you take at least 12 hours to make your decision.

Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Pre-Owned vehicles have many benefits. What qualifies vehicles as certified pre-owned is that they have been through an extensive safety and performance inspection, have been repaired to nearly new car standards and have an extended warranty.

Certified pre-owned vehicles tend to be a little more expensive, but if you shop around for the best prices you can easily find a good deal in a certification program.

Find the VIN

Doing a Revs check using the vehicles VIN number allows you to get a full history report of the car.

The history report will tell you the following information:

  • Reports on how many owners the used car has had
  • If it has ever been classified as a “lemon”
  • If it is a stolen car
  • If the used car has ever been in a major accident
  • If the odometer has ever been rolled back

As you can tell, the information that you obtain from checking the vehicle’s VIN number is very valuable and essential when purchasing a used vehicle.

Look Under the Hood

Inspect underneath the hood for any damage.

Check for:

  • Any fluid leaks (oil, water or other leaks around the engine)
  • Check all fluid levels
  • Inspect battery terminals to ensure the battery is rust-free and in good condition
  • Make sure car’s VIN is same as logged in the logbook


Be sure and check online, third party reviews for the used car you are looking to buy. Check for problem areas and general reliability. You never want to purchase a vehicle with high mileage level on it. So how many miles is too many miles for a used vehicle? Well the answer is not necessarily the same for all vehicles. We suggest you do some research on the vehicle you want to buy and make a decision from there.