Buying a used car on a small budget can feel like walking a tightrope. On the one hand, you’re trying your best to save money by going used, but on the other, you don’t want to get stuck with a lemon that will end up costing you again and again as you take it to the mechanic.
No one wants to put up with unexpected car repairs and expenses. They can undo all of the savings you found on a used vehicle and cause all kinds of inconvenience.
These tips can help you avoid a car that will cause you nothing but headaches.
Get a Vehicle History Report
One of the best predictors of issues in the future is accidents and problems that a vehicle has had in the past. Collisions can be hard on vehicles, and if there’s been a recurring issue, you need to know about it.
That’s why you should consider getting a vehicle history report. A vehicle history report will tell you about accidents, warranty claims, and defects. It all gets reported to different agencies, and a vehicle history report puts it all together.
Ask About Condition and Mileage
Mileage is another important factor in determining the value of a vehicle, but it may not be the best way to predict whether or not there will be future issues.
The condition is just as, if not more important, and you can discover most of what you need to know on your own with an inspection. When you have the opportunity to inspect a used vehicle, you should:
- Look for misaligned panels, which can suggest poor repairs or sloppy assembly.
- Check for rust, which will be an endless headache. Look in the wheel wells and beneath the doors.
- Check for cracked or chipped glass.
- Confirm that all of the lights are working the way they should.
- Check the treadwear on the tires, as it should be even across the tread. If the tires weren’t rotated on a regular basis, one side would be more worn than the other.
Check Out Safety Reviews
Just because you’re buying an older vehicle doesn’t mean that you’re prepared to compromise on safety. Check out old safety reviews from when the vehicle was new. There are tons of resources online that will tell you how a vehicle performed on standardized safety tests.
One of the safest budget options you can find out there is the Chrysler 200, especially the 2016 model, which scored five stars for overall protection, five stars in front and side impact protection, and earned an IIHS Superior rating for its frontal collision warning system.
Find the Best Years for the Vehicle
Vehicles can vary widely from year to year, even from well-respected brands. Car manufacturers make changes from one year to the next. Sometimes, a vehicle improves, and sometimes, new changes are introduced that can negatively impact a vehicle.
Check out which years were better for a particular model and check them against your options used. After a few years have gone by, issues with a particular model usually come to light.
These tips should help you find a more reliable option when you’re buying used.