As a car buyer, there are many choices to be made. A good place to start is deciding if you want to go with a new or pre-owned vehicle. Buying new means you get that new car smell, a fresh odometer, and the comfort that comes with knowing you have been the only owner. However, buying a new car isn’t for everyone. Buying used can be a great experience that will save you some money if done right. Here are five tips to keep in mind when searching for a pre-owned car that will be reliable, worth your money, and an all-around good vehicle.
- Check the title, and be very picky about the title status of the car. A car title is a legal document that states ownership of the vehicle. It also can be a major indicator of your car’s history.
Clean title: A clean title for a used car means that even though it is being sold as used, it has had no major physical issues with the car. The car is clean from major accidents, body and mechanical work, etc.
Salvage title: A salvage title for a used car means the car has been damaged beyond 75% of its original value. While the car may have been cleared to again function on the road, the original damage was bad enough that it will never reach clean title status again. Watch out for these, as their price is usually drastically lower than clean title vehicles.
Rebuilt/Reconstructed title: A rebuilt/reconstructed title is issued to salvage vehicles that have been repaired to be completely operational. These cars have undergone extensive rebuilding and inspection to return to the road. These cars are also much less expensive than clean title cars, but they can be a risk, as unexpected issues from the rebuild can come up, resulting in unexpected and potentially expensive trips to the shop.
- Make sure to get a car with a reasonable amount of miles on it.
The rule of thumb for most used cars is that the more miles they have, the less expensive they will be. If you are looking for a car to last you 5+ years, go with a car with less than 100,000 miles. If you are only looking for a car to get you through 2-5 years, a car with no more than 150,000 miles should last.
- Look for makes that are reliable through 200,000+ miles.
Some makes are more reliable than others, and those cars will easily last longer. Buying an unreliable make with 100,000 miles on it, means that car is most likely to only last another couple thousand miles at the most. A car from a reliable make with over 100k miles already on it, means that car could last you through 250k miles.
- If it’s available, check the vehicle’s history.
Unlike checking the title status of the car, a vehicle history is much more detailed. A vehicle history should tell you if it was regularly serviced, as well as went in for oil changes and basic checkups. This will tell you what kind of condition the car is in on a deeper level. A car with regular checks is one that has healthy mechanics under the hood. This will lower your chances of running into unexpected mechanical issues after purchase.
- Try and buy from a car dealership.
If that is not possible, be careful when buying from a private seller. Private sellers may seem like an easier option, as they occasionally may run cheaper. However, buying from a dealership ensures that you’ll have a regulated purchasing process. Some private sellers may withhold information and sell you a car with known problems without disclosing that information. A dealership has their reputation on the line, and they inspect their used cars to make sure they are worthy of their lot.
If you’re on the quest to find the perfect pre-owned vehicle, come visit us at Cutter Auto. Our no-pressure team will help you find your new dream car. Check out our website http://www.cutterauto.com, where you can find all of our new and used inventory. Happy driving!