Your Next Used Car: A Great Deal or a Money Pit on Wheels?

When it is time to replace your vehicle, buying a used car is a great way to save money. Cars depreciate quickly, and many financial gurus suggest that buying used is the better option for most people, especially if you plan to use financing.

Even though it usually makes financial sense to buy a car that is a couple years old, you may be hesitant to trust everything the seller tells you, whether you are buying from a dealership or a private seller. Doing your homework and knowing what to look for when you are purchasing a vehicle can spare you a lot of frustration (and expensive repairs) down the road.

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What To Inspect When Buying A Used Car

What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

Do Your Research

While any vehicle can be a lemon, some vehicles are especially prone to problems. Once you have figured out what type of vehicle you want, identify the models with good reliability records before you begin shopping around. A third-party company such as consumer reports provides unbiased guidance on selecting a model that is reliable.

It is also a good idea to check the Vehicle Identification Number to see if there have been any recalls or known issues.

Inspect the Vehicle

You do not have to be a certified mechanic to spot signs of damage. First, look over the vehicle’s exterior for signs of rust, dents or scratches. Keep an eye out for uneven panels and uneven paint. This could indicate that the car was damaged and not repaired properly, which could affect how it absorbs impact if it is in an accident. Open and close all the doors, trunk and hood to make sure they function normally.

Once you have checked over the exterior, sit inside the vehicle and look for signs of wear in the upholstery. Pay attention to any musty smells or water stains, which could indicate a leak or prior water damage.

Go for a Test Drive

Turn the vehicle on and make sure that all the dashboard warning lights turn on. If they do not, or if they stay on, make sure that the issue is resolved before you purchase the vehicle. If possible, test drive the vehicle on different types of roads and at different speeds. Take your hands off the steering wheel to see if the vehicle pulls to the side, and make sure the brakes work normally.

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Know the Fair Market Value

Online tools such as Kelley Blue Book and National Automobile Dealers Association Guides can help you be sure that you are being charged a fair market price based on the car’s year, model, condition ratings and mileage.

Insure Your Car with Nevada Insurance Enrollment

Once you have purchased your new vehicle, it is important to make sure that you get the right auto insurance. At Nevada Insurance Enrollment, our auto insurance agents can help you compare policies and sign up for the best policy.

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Buying A Used Car From A Private Seller

Why You Should Avoid a Lapse in Auto Insurance Coverage

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DISCLAIMER: It is important to note that the information contained herein is made general for the purpose of explanation.  You should consult your policy for exclusions or other language that may alter your policy.

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