Often when looking for a used vehicle, you need it immediately and hope for a quick and easy purchase.  Nevertheless, you do not want to buy a vehicle with hidden problems that will cost you a lot of money.  Follow these tips to avoid making mistakes that may result in major regrets later.


Maintenance Records

 Ask to see any records the seller may have kept on maintenance and repairs.  You do not want to buy a vehicle that was owned by someone who did not take care of it.  Just because a seller has not kept a record, though, does not necessarily mean the car you are interested in has not been taken care of.


Ask for the Carfax

A reputable car dealer should already have the Carfax Vehicle History Report printed and available to potential buyers.  If not, they should be willing to produce one for you without asking any questions.  If not, be wary of the vehicle (and the dealer!).


If the vehicle you are considering to buy is being sold by a private seller, ask for a Carfax.  If they are reluctant, also be wary of that vehicle (and the seller!).  However, if you are still interested, print your own Carfax.  The nominal fee is certainly worth a wise decision and peace of mind.


Check the Tires

You may have heard jokes about car purchasers kicking the tires of a car to decide whether or not to buy it.  Those jokes may have some merit.  While the condition of the tires is not a major consideration, tires are expensive.  If you will be needing to purchase new tires soon after buying the car, at least figure the price of new tires in with the price you are willing to pay for the vehicle.


Sometimes a dealer will agree to put new tires on a vehicle as part of the purchase deal.  Any seller may be willing to lower the price if the tires are worn.


Ask about Quirks

Your newly-purchased used car may have a few quirks.  You need to know about them before you drive it away.  For instance, the car may have a habit of locking unexpectedly.  If you are not aware of that fact, you may let the keys in the ignition when you leave the car and end up being locked out.  Or, perhaps the gas gauge does not work.  You certainly do not want to find out that fact while stuck along the side of the road with an empty gas tank.    All such inconveniences can be avoided by simply asking the seller about quirks.  Usually they are minor enough as to not be a deal breaker regarding the sale.


Know the Seller

If possible, buy your used car from a person you know and trust.  You may have to sacrifice your desired car color for what is available,  In the end, however, it is so much better to have a reliable car in a less-liked color than to have a car in your favorite color that is not dependable.


People who value your friendship probably are not going to attempt to sell you their car that has problems they know about.  Grandpa and grandma also will not want to sell their car to you, their favorite grandchild, if it has problems, no matter how good the deal is that they may be offering you!


Check for Previous Accidents or Flooding

Although a Carfax report may tell if the vehicle has been in an accident or flood, you can do some checking yourself.  To find hints that the vehicle may have been in an accident, look at the paint.  The age and quality of the paint should be the same.  You should not find another color of paint showing through at some spots on the vehicle, and you should not see any peeling at the edges.


To find hints that the vehicle has been in a flood, notice if there are mildew smells, and look for water stains on the upholstery.  Also, check for corrosion on metal parts, particularly on the lower part of the vehicle.


Test Drive to Your reliable Mechanic

Always test drive any vehicle before buying it.  Listen for odd sounds or check for unpleasant smells.  Try the heater and air conditioner regardless of the current season of the year.  It may be the coldest January winter day, but you do not want to find out on the hottest July summer day that the air conditioner is not working!


Take the vehicle to your reliable mechanic and have him or her check out the vehicle before you make the final decision.  This may cost you $100, but it may also save you thousands of dollars in the near future.  Any reputable seller will agree to allow you to take the vehicle to a mechanic of your choosing.  If not, then you know to look elsewhere for your new used car.


When purchasing a used vehicle, you often do not have the luxury of taking your time to find the perfect one.  By following these tips,  you are likely to end up with a reliable vehicle worth the money you paid for it.