Less than great economic times mean that for many people buying a brand-new car right now is not an option and shopping the used car lots is on the cards for them instead. You can in fact pick up some fabulous bargains on used cars right now but there are certain ‘bugs’ that you should be on the lookout for when shopping that may seem small and innocent enough but could actually spell real trouble later on. Here are some of them:
A Troublesome Title
If the car you are considering has a dirty title’ – Salvage, Flood, Rebuilt or Buyback – then it should probably be avoided at all costs. These are cars that have at some point been written off and even if they have now been rebuilt and refurbished many of those lingering problems never do go away.
If you do want to pursue the vehicle – if it’s a real one off – then make sure you see records of repairs that were made at the very least and it would be wisest if you ask to be allowed to have it checked over by the auto body shop of your choice before a deal is struck.
Uneven Tire Wear
If the tires on a used car show signs of uneven wear that can spell trouble as well. Sure, you can replace them but often that is a sign that there is an underlying steering or suspension problem that may not have been properly addressed.
Unusually High Mileage
The average mileage on a good used car should be somewhere around 12,000 miles annually. Choosing a car that has higher mileage may not in itself be a huge problem if the car has obviously been well maintained but it may be a good way to get the price down.
Lots of Special Extras
Cars that have been modified and altered can be incredibly cool but they can also be very difficult and very expensive to maintain. That is not to say that you should not buy such a car – especially if you have fallen in love with it – but just be prepared for the fact that a future trip to the repair shop may end up costing you a lot more than you had bargained for.
As a general rule of thumb if you are not very ‘car minded’ then taking along someone who is – preferably a mechanic – when you go used car shopping is always the best idea. If that’s not possible, remember our earlier suggestion and have the vehicle checked out at a mechanic shop before a deal is struck. Pros often know all the tricks of trade that the average driver simply isn’t aware of and their expertise can help you avoid getting stuck with a used car that is simply not what the seller said it was.
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