Buying a used car is something most Utah residents will do at some point. Used cars are often the most economical, but there are things you need to be aware of before shelling out your hard earned money.
First, avoid ads that are too good to be true; often times, they are. If the car is several grand under the market value then there is a good chance that it’s either a scam, or there is something wrong with the vehicle.
Whether you are buying a used car directly from the owner, or going to a Utah used car dealership, always get as much information about the vehicle from the seller as you can. There are several questions you need to ask. If you are dealing with the owner ask them why they are selling the car, and how long they have had the car. Ask how many previous owners the car has had. Ask where and when the car was last serviced and if it has a full service history. Ask if it has ever been crashed, damaged or repaired.
If you are looking at a vehicle from a local Utah owner, insist on meeting them at their home rather than a parking lot and avoid meeting at night. Give yourself plenty of time to give the car a proper inspection. Start with the vehicle’s documentation. Take a walk around the car to check that every panel is straight and the paint work is in good condition. Dull or cracked paint is usually an indication of damage. Other indications could be darker door seals or a brighter headlight.
Review the car’s interior. If the odometer reads less than 40,000 but the gear shift and the pedals look excessively worn, it might be time to walk away as these are signs of high mileage. You should also check the electronics before purchasing a used car. Press every single button in the car; open and close all of the windows; and turn all of the lights on (dim, bright, foglights). Also test the indicators, hazard lights and the windshield wipers.
Open and close every door. Open the trunk and run your hands along the edges of the carpet. If there is dampness, it is a sign of previous damage either to the trunk or the undercarriage. Check under the hood of the car to check for any obvious signs of damage. Check the oil. Too little or too much oil is not good and is a sign that the car was not properly cared. Be sure to take it for a test drive to make sure the steering and brakes are in working order. Check the alignment and the hand break as well.
If you are going to a Utah used car dealership, it is a good idea to check out their reviews beforehand, as well. Many websites offer reviews of auto dealerships, and bad experiences travel quickly around the Web.
Content writing intern Kylie Moore contributed to this report.