Many owners out there will purchase a brand new car and keep it for a few years, putting 50 to 100 thousand kilometers or so on the clock before selling it or trading it in for another new car. This timeframe is where most of the depreciation occurs on a new vehicle, so that can mean big savings for the next owner.
The one caveat of buying a used car is just that. It’s used. It’s not fresh off the assembly line. It’s been around the province, maybe the country. People lived their lives with that car. It went through potholes, road trips, mud, snow, maybe a small fender bender, and hopefully some basic maintenance. It can be a scary thought looking at the price tag and not knowing exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Of course the seller is going to tell you it’s a great car and has been well taken care of, and they’re probably telling the truth, but are you willing to bet your money on that?
One of the things we value at Motor Werke is the importance of regular maintenance and repairs. Issues can arise at any time, but it becomes more common as the mileage increases. When buying a used car, you are likely getting into it with mileage already on the odometer and no factory warranty. This is normal for used cars, but it is incredibly important to perform your due diligence and make sure there aren’t any nasty surprises waiting for you the first time it comes in for a service. The best time to find out about any potential issues is before you sign the paperwork while you can still walk away.
Test Drive It
An astonishing 16% of people have purchased a used vehicle without having ever driven it themselves. This should be one of the first steps you take before going any further in the process. Not only to identify any potential issues, but to make sure you actually like the car. They are a big investment, and often the biggest purchase many people will make besides a house. It’s important that you get something you truly enjoy driving and can see fulfilling your needs for the long term. There’s also the possibility that some issues that aren’t apparent in photos will present themselves when you get it moving.
One of the first things you should ask to see is the maintenance history of the vehicle. Each and every oil service, drivetrain fluid service, and inspection should be documented and available. Be sure to check the dates and mileage of each service as well. Just because they were done does not necessarily mean they were done on time, which is important to consider since you will be the one footing the bill for any repairs down the road.
A CarFax is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to see the history of a vehicle. The CarFax will show registration and insurance history, maintenance records, insurance claims, accident history and any other information that is relevant to the sale. If any of the information in the CarFax conflicts with what the seller has told you, now is the time to ask and let them iron out the details, or walk away from the sale. It’s your money on the line, so if anything seems fishy, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
Ask The Seller
Asking the seller if there is anything you should know about the vehicle is one of the easiest ways to get the information you’re looking for. More often than not the seller is going to be an honest person just like you, and will be forthcoming with the history and any issues they have had with the vehicle. Of course it is still your responsibility to verify their claims, but they are most likely not trying to pull one over on you, so they can be a very valuable source of information.
A pre-purchase inspection at a facility of the buyer’s choice is a must before the sale of any used vehicle of significant value. Assuming there is nothing to hide, the seller should have no issue agreeing to this, and if they do, they might as well just wave a big red flag in your face.
A pre-purchase inspection is an inspection performed by an independent third party that covers all aspects of the vehicle. One of our technicians will go over the engine, transmission, suspension, tires, brakes, chassis, interior, etc. If there is an issue present or that will become present in the near future, we will identify it and make you aware. There are countless potential issues such as leaks, worn suspension components, rust, etc.. that are difficult or impossible to identify with the vehicle on the ground. This gives you the power to make an informed decision on whether this is a car worth investing in.
Have Your Sights Set On A Used Car?
Buying a used car can be a stressful and scary experience, but we are here to help. Before making any major decisions on a used car, bring it to Motor Werke, and we will have one of our experienced technicians go over the entire vehicle and give you either the green light or the red light. Odds are everything is just fine and you are getting a good vehicle for a good price, but it always pays off to do your due diligence before committing to ownership.