Many of us have had our share of problematic cars over the course of time. They drain our bank accounts, constantly break down, and something new is always going wrong. For the lucky few that have not had the distinct displeasure of a money hole vehicle then trust us, you want to avoid the experience at all costs. Purchasing a used or certified pre-owned vehicle can seem like a gamble, never knowing whether the car is reliable or not but with a little bit of preparation and knowledge it is possible to make an informed car buying choice.
There are two types of research that should be performed prior to any car purchase, online and in person. Preliminary online research begins with looking for the type of car you are interested in and seeing which dealers carry it locally. This is a good time to compare prices as well. Next, after deciding which dealerships you are interested in visiting you should perform a search to find reviews for the company. These reviews can shed a lot of light on the quality of the cars, customer service, and what to expect. Several bad reviews should be a red flag as they could signal a problem. We like to recommend driving by dealerships during their off hours when they are not open to see what the exterior looks like. Hint, if the building and lots are not maintained then cars probably aren’t either.
Word of Mouth
Ask family, friends, or even strangers you meet in line about car dealerships. The chances are you will hear a lot of valuable information. Trustworthy companies like a Subaru dealership utah with long-standing reputations are often a safer bet than independent sellers.
Red Flags on a Test Drive
While we wish test drives revealed all of a car’s secrets, that is often not the case. That is why is important to pay special attention to everything during a test drive. We must be studious drivers.
Checklist for Test Drives
- Warning lights on dashboard
- Brakes quiet and effective
- Buttons all work
- Test all the lights
- Steering smooth or rigid
- Unusual sounds while driving
An exterior inspection should check for scratches, dents, bent exhaust pipes, rusting, and other visual damage. In some cases people will take a car they are seriously interested in to a mechanic for a professional once-over. Another simple idea is to bring a family member or friend along on the test drive that has ample vehicle experience and can identify any potential problems. Don’t be afraid to test drive multiple times before you are sure.
You have done everything that you could do to be a responsible car buyer. Research, asking around for opinions, and a thorough test drive were all performed. Hopefully, you have weeded out some cars that could have potentially been problematic and chosen a vehicle that will last for many years only requiring routine maintenance.