5 Serious Issues to Watch Out for When Shopping for Used Cars

You can save a huge amount of money when you buy a used vehicle. But one thing that everyone worries about when they’re buying a used car is that there may be serious defects just beneath the hood. These defects could cause safety concerns while you’re driving, or they could force to pay for expensive repairs not long after you purchased the vehicle.

There are 5 serious issues you should watch out for when you’re shopping for a used car. If you can identify these issues before you make your purchase, you can save yourself from investing in a faulty piece of machinery, or you could put yourself in a position to negotiate a lower price.

Worn Tires

Lots of people who shop for used cars make the mistake of only evaluating how well the tires are inflated. But tire inflation is not an important thing to evaluate—you can always add air to your tiresfor a very minimal fee, or for free. It’s more important to thoroughly evaluate the tread on each tire.

The tire tread refers to the amount of rubber that makes contact with the ground. Good tires are tires that have a very deep tire tread. Worn tires have a shallow tread because more of the rubber has been worn away through miles and miles of driving.

Be sure to carefully examine the tire tread on the vehicle you’re buying. If the vehicle has poor tread, you’ll probably have to replace the tires not long after you buy the car. It typically costs between $300 to $400 to replace each tire, so you might be able to negotiate a price decrease of the same amount. Read our guide on choosing the best tiresif you do plan on getting new tired for your used vehicle.

Suspicious Seller

When you buy a used car, you might have to deal with private sellers who may not always have the best intentions. Most of the time, private sellers are just ordinary people who are trying to get rid of a car they don’t use anymore. But there are other sellers who are trying to unload a terrible vehicle on you, or—in a worst-case scenario—they’re dangerous people. These sellers most often frequent online selling platformssites like Craigslist.

If you’re going to test drive a vehicle that’s privately owned, always insist on meeting the seller in a safe, public location, and consider bringing along a friend. If the seller refuses to meet you in a public place, it’s a big red flag and you should cut contact with the seller.

You also have every right to have your used vehicle inspected by a mechanic of your choosing. If the seller refuses to allow this, it’s a red flag that the vehicle has serious defects the seller isn’t telling you about.

And if any of that creeped you out, consider finding new cars for saleat a dealership instead!

Convoluted Vehicle History

If a used vehicle has a convoluted history, it could mean that the car has either been in various accidents, or that the owners didn’t enjoy driving the car.

You don’t want to buy a vehicle that has been in many accidents because these cars have likely suffered major structural damage. And if the car has had an unusually large amount of owners, it’s probably just not a well-made vehicle. The vehicle might even have serious defects that the previous owners didn’t know about.

You can get a vehicle history report onlineon the car you’re interested in buying.

Bad Brakes

This might seem like an obvious one, but we really can’t stress the importance of good car brakes. Don’t ever buy a used vehicle that has questionable brakes. Your brakes could be the difference between life and death, so have them thoroughly evaluated by a mechanic before you purchase the used car. Make sure the car has sufficient brake fluid—if it doesn’t, it might be a sign that prior owners neglected maintenance. Without brake fluid, the brakes are more likely to be worn.

Lemon Vehicle

Basically, everyone’s biggest fear about buying a used vehicle is that they’re buying a lemon vehicle. A lemon vehicle is a vehicle that has serious manufacturing faults. Make sure you know the signs that indicate a lemon vehicle so you’ll be able to spot one when you’re doing test drives.

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