What to Look for When Buying a Used Vehicle

July 26th, 2022 by

Buying a vehicle doesn’t have to be stressful if you dedicate time to conducting the proper research beforehand. When deciding whether purchasing a new or used vehicle is the better option for you, consider elements such as safety, insurance costs, comfort, convenience, and of course, your budget. If you choose the pre-owned route, you can still find a car that meets your standards without breaking the bank. Luckily, our team here at Miami Car Credit has put together this article detailing what to look for when buying pre-owned. 

Keep reading to learn about the benefits of purchasing a used car, how to choose one, and tips to make your used-car-buying process easy and enjoyable.

Why Buy a Used Vehicle?

While buying a brand new vehicle can certainly be exciting, it also comes with a heftier price tag and, often, lots of hidden fees. If you want to save money while not compromising quality, consider opting for a used vehicle. Here are some of the primary benefits of choosing to buy a used vehicle over a brand new one:

  • Low purchasing price: One of the most obvious benefits of buying a used car is that it will always cost less than its brand-new version. The money you save on your used vehicle can go toward making functional or design repairs to its interior and exterior. 
  • Less depreciation: Cars are a depreciating asset, which means they start losing value almost immediately after purchase. The good news about used cars is that they’ve already undergone most of their value depreciation in the first few years, so your purchase will maintain its current value for years to come. 
  • Low insurance costs: Driving a used car also has the benefit of lower insurance premiums, which can save you substantial money each month. New cars cost more to repair in the case of an accident or other physical damage, which is why they’re more expensive to cover. 
  • More options: You also have a wider selection of options when buying pre-owned as opposed to new. Car manufacturers only release certain new models yearly, but you can find vehicles from various makes, models, and years at a used car dealership. 

What to Look for When Buying a Used Vehicle

Here are some of the main factors to look out for when deciding on the perfect used vehicle to purchase:

Inspect the Vehicle

One of the most important steps you can take when buying a used vehicle is to inspect the entirety of its interior and exterior spaces personally. Look closely to identify any damage the seller might not have reported, such as rust or dents. Take time to open and close each door, the hood, and trunk to ensure they seal properly. You may also want to sit in each seat to confirm that seatbelts and upholstery are up-to-date and ensure other features, such as power windows, locks, and lights, are working correctly.

Look Up the VIN

You can learn a lot about a specific vehicle by looking up its VIN or vehicle identification number. There are hundreds of VIN decoding programs available for free online, including this one from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many VIN decoders also provide vehicle history information, where you can learn about the car’s title, accident history, previous owners, and service records. Searching for the VIN is an easy and informative way to confirm that a seller is providing you with the correct information about a vehicle’s past.

Take a Test Drive

Test drives can provide plenty of information about a vehicle’s condition if you know what to look for. Before driving, look at the vehicle’s dashboard to determine if any service lights are on, indicating that the car needs maintenance. Try driving the car on different terrains and speeds to ensure it runs smoothly without any obvious clacking or tapping noises. A test drive is also a great way to decide if you feel comfortable driving a car and enjoy how it accelerates, brakes, and shifts its transmission.

Check the Mileage

Another crucial element to look for before purchasing a used vehicle is its mileage. Typically, cars with lower mileage have higher value, as they’ve depreciated less thanks to less wear and tear on the road. While low mileage may seem like a good indicator of a car’s condition, it’s important to note that vehicles that sit idly for extended periods can have their own issues having nothing to with mileage, such as dried-out rubber and accumulated rust. While mileage is important, you also want to consider how well the previous owner maintained the vehicle.

Tips For Buying a Used Vehicle

Consider following these tips to make buying a pre-owned car easier and more efficient:

  • Make a list of what you’re looking for in the vehicle, including any specific colors, technology, or safety features that are especially valuable to you.
  • Create another list of cars that you think meet your standards in terms of price, features, and reliability.
  • Research the average prices of vehicles on your list to determine an appropriate budget.
  • Explore all your options, including new car dealerships, used car dealerships, and reputable independent sellers.
  • Consider trading your current vehicle and applying the money from the trade toward your next used car purchase.

So, there you have it. That’s our guide to buying a used vehicle that meets your standards in quality and cost. We hope this article can be helpful the next time you search for a pre-owned vehicle that impresses you with its affordability, safety, comfort, and entertainment capabilities. As one of Miami’s leading premium pre-owned car dealerships, we pride ourselves on offering the best customer service and a wide selection of used vehicles. 

Contact us today at Miami Car Credit to speak to a member of our team or stop by our showroom to get an in-person view of our extensive inventory of pre-owned vehicles.

Posted in Used Car Dealer