For anyone who has looked at new car prices these days the used market offers a lot of value. Sometimes it’s just price, since even a vanilla, mid-sized car can end up costing $30,000 or more once cutting-edge accessories and finance charges are applied to the bottom line.
Used vehicles can offer deep cost discounts since the typical rule-of-thumb for pricing usually hovers somewhere around 20% once a car rolls off the lot even during a car’s current model year. Once that period expires further discounts exist thereafter, so a couple of years down the road, the pocketbook impact can be really startling.
Here are a few tips when purchasing a pre-owned car:
A buyer can tell a lot about a car’s quality by doing a simple stroll around the vehicle. Other than considering overall qualities of fit and finish, you should also be looking at the car’s stance.
In other words, is the car level on its suspension front-to-back, and side-to-side or does it look like it’s tired, and wants to go to bed? In the latter case, there’s something amiss with the car’s struts, a-arms, springs or shocks, and any of these elements will not only cost money, but in serious cases, can threaten life and limb.
While you’re doing a circular stroll, also take a look at the how the car’s body rests on its underpinnings. In this case, is the body centered up on its suspension, or is it skewed one way or the other along the suspension’s long axis? If it doesn’t look right, here, that “bad thing” feeling may be just around the corner.
If you’ve figured out that the car looks right, push down on each corner, to see how the vehicle’s shocks behave. In this event, what you’re looking for are two central things:
If the shocks are okay, each corner of the car should “spring back” equally and with a degree of force. However, if one corner or the other doesn’t meet those conditions, it’s likely that the first thing you’ll have to do is replace the car’s entire damping system.
Again this is just the beginning of a complete work-up, but the point is to look deeper than just what you can “see”, and get into “how” the car behaves before you test drive.