10 Things to Check Before Purchasing a Used Vehicle - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Sep 18, 2018

10 Things to Check Before Purchasing a Used Vehicle


Brand new cars can be extremely pricey, and many people choose to shop for used vehicles when it’s time to trade in. Since used car shopping is so popular, it is important to remember these things before making your final decision:
  1.  Research what the car is actually worth. There are websites that allow you to put in the specifics of the vehicle and then estimate a price for what they think the car is worth. For example, Kelly Blue Book requires basic information such as mileage, make, model and year to give your estimated worth. Some websites will even ask you smaller details such as condition and if the car has been in any accidents or not. 
  2. Look up the ratings and current owner reviews of the vehicle. Perhaps the reason the current owner is selling the car is because they didn’t like something about it. Chances are, you are going to dislike the same thing. Make sure you get a good idea of how the car is rated in terms of safety, etc. It is also important to know what other owners like and dislike about the car.
  3.  Check on recalls. You can visit the National Highway Traffic Administrations recall database to see if that specific vehicle has any recalls and what they are. If the vehicle does have a recall, make sure it is properly taken care of before you make your decision.
  4. Has the car been in an accident before? This is something that the seller can lie about, however, you can request the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) which will allow you to run a report to show the complete history of the car from the time it was manufactured. If the car was in any type of accident, it will show up on this report. This report will also let you know if the odometer has been turned back to show less total miles, or even if it has been deemed salvaged by the insurance company.
  5. Make sure you see and inspect the car in person. DO NOT just rely on pictures before making your decision. You want to carefully inspect the inside and outside of the car to see any wear and tear by the previous owner(s).
  6. Along with the title, request the service records of the vehicle. Service records are important to tell you how well the previous owner(s) have maintained the car. If the vehicle needed serious repairs (transmission or engine) – you may want to re-think your decision.
  7. Test drive. Taking the car for a drive is a very smart idea before making a decision. When you test drive be sure to go slow, and also take it on a highway to see how the vehicle performs at higher speeds. Avoid listening to the radio when test driving as the noise can cover up any squealing or rattling that the car could be making that could signal a potential issue.
  8. Spend the money on a mechanic inspection before purchasing. You can hire a mechanic to inspect the car before you purchase. Although this will cost you some money, it will likely save you down the road if the car has serious issues.
  9. Ask the owner about the car. It is better to talk with the owner in person rather than over the phone. Ask questions, like who drove the car? or why are they selling the car? Talking face-to-face can give you more of an idea of the intentions of the seller. 
  10. Warranty? Used cars that are only a few years old may have a warranty left on them. If so- make sure it is transferred to your name if and when you decide to purchase the vehicle. Be sure to find out how long the warranty remains and what repairs it may cover.


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