One of the most heartbreaking stories we hear at Accurate Automotive are the ones from vehicle owners that ‘Just bought the car, please check it over for me”. It is likely either you or someone you know has gone through the following experience at one time or another.
The vehicle is recently purchased and it is either in the repair shop for what seems like the tenth time or the repair bill you are facing less than one month later seems almost as much as the car is worth!
There are some steps you can take to protect yourself from this nightmare that can make buying a used car less risky. If the car is for sale by owner ask for service receipts and maintenance records. A well-maintained vehicle with proof of maintenance is worth much more than a vehicle that has had minimal or no maintenance at all.
If it is for sale on a car lot you can still request that information although it is unlikely to be available to you. However, there are distinct signs one can look for that can give an indication of the type of usage that vehicle has been through.
Look at the brake and accelerator pedals. Are they quite worn or do they look fairly new? Worn pedals indicate stop and go driving habits by the previous owner when compared to similar mileage on a vehicle with little wear on the brake and throttle pedals. Look also at the flooring and the seats. Are they heavily worn indicating frequent trips with getting in and out of the car often or still looking fairly unworn with similar mileage?
When comparing vehicles of similar mileage these indicators can show whether the miles driven have been hard miles or easier miles of longer trips.
The most wear and tear on an engine occurs during start up. A vehicle that starts and stops frequently will incur as much engine wear in 10,000 miles as a car driven frequently on the highway will have in 30,000 miles or more. This is why a vehicle with high miles frequently driven on long road trips can be a better buy than one with much fewer miles driven only in town.
The same is also true for the rest of the drivetrain as well. There is more wear during warm-up than at any time other than extreme load conditions. Most passenger vehicles do not experience extreme loads so this is usually only a concern on trucks and SUV’s.
Above all else, once you have decided you may have found the vehicle you want, always be sure to take it in to Accurate Automotive Attention for a pre-purchase inspection (or a company that you already know and trust). Always! Even if you are buying it from your mother. 😊
There is too much more information on this subject to place in just one blog post so we will continue this topic in a future post. If you are buying a used car before then you can feel free to call us at Accurate Automotive for more information.
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