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What To Look Out for When Buying a Used Car
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31 May, 2024

What To Look Out for When Buying a Used Car

Buying a new car is going to put a heavy dent in your wallet, which is why many individuals resort to purchasing a used car instead. The devil is in the details though; there is a lot to look out for when shopping for a used car.

In this brief article brought to you by Wrights Car Care, we share some tips on what to look out for when purchasing a second-hand vehicle. If your used car is giving you problems, call Wrights Car Care to have a uniformed mechanic investigate. Our local auto repair shop is at your service, offering everything from routine maintenance to complex repairs.

Clearly determine your budget and needs.

Start with a clear understanding of your budget. Consider how much cash you have and explore financing options without stretching too thin. Decide on the type of vehicle that suits your needs—considering factors such as fuel efficiency, size, safety features, and the primary use of the car (e.g., commuting, family transport, off-road).

Once you have a budget and vehicle type in mind, research various makes and models that fit your criteria. Reliable resources include consumer reports, automotive review websites, and owner forums. Pay attention to common issues reported by owners, the average lifespan of the vehicle, and its overall reputation for reliability.

Conduct a thorough inspection.

Inspect the car when the sun’s out and ideally on a dry day to spot potential issues more easily. Key areas to check include:

  • Exterior: Look for rust, dents, and mismatched paint that could indicate past damage. Check the condition of the tires and ensure they have even wear.
  • Interior: Inspect for wear and tear on the seats, dashboard, and carpets. Test all electronics, including lights, windows, radio, and air conditioning.
  • Under the Hood: Check for leaks, corrosion, and the condition of belts and hoses. Look at the oil and transmission fluid for signs of neglect (e.g., dirty oil or burnt smell).
  • Undercarriage: Examine for rust or damage, especially in regions where road salt is used.

Once you’ve taken a good look, it’s time for a test drive to assess the car’s condition. During the drive, take note of the following:

  • Engine Performance: It should start easily without unusual noises. Acceleration should be smooth.
  • Brakes: Ensure they respond promptly without pulsing or unusual, screeching noises.
  • Steering and Handling: The car should track straight without pulling to one side. Test the suspension on bumpy roads.
  • Transmission: It should shift smoothly in both automatic and manual modes.

Check the vehicle’s history.

A visual inspection is not enough. A vehicle history report is crucial. Services like Carfax or AutoCheck can provide detailed histories, including past ownership, accident reports, service records, and title status. Avoid cars with salvage titles, major accidents, or inconsistent mileage readings. A clean history report is a good indicator, but not a guarantee, of a well-maintained vehicle.

Have a mechanic inspect the car.

We’re confident in your senses, and we hope you’re confident in a mechanic’s expertise. Even if the car seems perfect, a professional inspection can reveal hidden issues. A trusted mechanic will perform a detailed examination, checking for potential problems that could lead to costly repairs down the line. This inspection can cost around $100-$200 but is well worth the peace of mind – especially when you consider some common repairs can cost several hundred dollars.

Whether you need a quick inspection or urgent auto repair service, the seasoned professionals at Wrights Car Care are here to help. Call us today to schedule an appointment or arrange urgent assistance for as soon as possible.

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What Our Happy Customers Are Saying

My experience with Wrights Car Care was probably the best car repair experience I could ask for. The last thing that you want to worry about while putting yourself through college is whether or not you can trust the people working on your car.  Wrights Car Care was very honest about exactly what the problems were with my vehicle and which issues needed to be addressed immediately and which ones could wait.  I have had no issues with any of the repairs I have had. They really have the customer's best interest in mind and it shows!

Susan Knippenberg

have been going to Wright's for numerous years and David has always been honest and helpful and concerned about each customer and their circumstances.  They always give detailed reports about what needs to be fixed and even a time frame if it can wait a while or needs immediate attention.  I really appreciate that personal attention.

Marcia Werner

This place is absolute gold. We moved to the neighborhood 3 years ago, and they have been our go-to car place for every issue, large or small, ever since. It's like bringing my car to a trusted and knowledgeable family member. They have done everything from major repairs to minor tune-ups for us, and we have never been dissatisfied. Twice I have brought my car not sure what was going on, and it turned out to be a small enough issue that they fixed it on the spot for no charge! Honest, competent, quick, fair, and kind. You can't do better.

Amy Robertson

Wrights car care rocks!! I had a car issue with a quick timeline to get back to college. David got me in and out quickly, with the part I needed, and didn't try to sell me something I didn't. You cannot beat the kindness and service I experienced!! We have gone to Wrights Car Care before, and this is why we keep going back. THANK YOU!!

Charlotte Matthews