Shopping for a car can be stressful, and not everyone knows what to look for. This gets even more complicated when shopping for a used car, especially when buying “as seen, as is” or from a private seller.
If you’re heading out to kick some tires and check out used vehicles, take a few minutes to go over this list of things you should keep an eye out for. Remember these rules of thumb on the lot, and you can feel confident that you’ll be making a wiser, better-thought-out investment.
1. Look Out For Body Imperfections
Chances are, unless the vehicle you’re considering is lightly used or has been taken perfect care of, there may be a few scratches, dings, or small dents. This is okay. What you really want to look out for is anything that might such as significant body damage or sections of the body not matching up perfectly, which is likely the result of subpar repairs. Look at body panels from an angle instead of head on, as this will make imperfections more pronounced.
2. Make Sure All Power Accessories Work
If the vehicle you’re looking at has power locks, windows, and/or mirrors, check to make sure they all work. Power mirrors and locks can be moved manually if they don’t work (although this will be inconvenient) but power windows that don’t work can be a huge problem. In many states, windows that can’t be rolled down, particularly the driver’s window, can be grounds for a vehicle to fail inspection.
3. Check The Tires For Wear And Tear
Be sure to check out the tires for wear. For starters, it’s good to see whether or not the tires will still pass inspection. If they look like they’re too worn down, and new ones will be needed for the car to be road-worthy, you can use it as a bargaining chip to negotiate a lower price.
Another important thing to consider is how even the wear is. If tires have worn down unevenly and seem to be barer in some spots than others, this could indicate that the vehicle is in need of an alignment.
4. Inspect Windshield For Cracks
Carefully inspect the windshield and windows for cracks and chips. These can be very small, and may not seem like a big deal, but our sources with tell us that they can become bigger over time. Particularly in extreme temperatures, glass may expand or contract, and this can cause a tiny crack to spread across your entire windshield.
Considering that windshields are usually designed to withstands during a rollover accident, it leaves all occupants at risk of harm if weak or compromised in any way, shape or form.
5. Check Oil Quality And Level
Bring along a clean white rag or roll of paper towels, and check the oil. Pay attention not only to the oil level (if it’s low, that could be a sign of a leak) but also the color and smell of the fluid. Dark or dirty looking oil, or oil that has a burnt smell, shows that the vehicle may not have been maintained as well as it should have been, or that it’s been burning the oil.
6. Assess Condition Of Interior Materials
Check out the interior for stains, rips or other blemishes. Discolored and even slightly ripped upholstery can always be covered up (if that’s something you want to commit to) but keep a lookout for burn marks on the seats, near the windows, and on the cloth ceiling. If someone has smoked in the car, the smell can be very difficult to remove, and even if it’s been covered up by an air freshener, you may never be able to get a truly clean smell back into the vehicle.
7. When In Doubt, Get The CarFax
If you follow these guidelines, you should have a good shot at getting a vehicle that you can count on. If you’re still unsure, though, if a price seems to be too good to be true, or if you’re investing in a used vehicle that’s still fairly expensive (like a used luxury model), you can always get a . In a private sale, you’ll have to pay for it yourself, but some dealers will cover the cost.
5 Reasons Why Your Family Needs A New Vehicle
Are you itching to trade in your old beater for a shiny new car? If you’ve had it for more than six years, you may be overdue.
Six years is about the amount of time the average person keeps a car in the United States, so,if you’re thinking it’s about time, maybe it is. Still, buying a new car is a huge decision that requires a high level of certainty. Here are 5 reasons that may convince you that you need a new vehicle:
Every year, manufacturers introduce new safety features. So, every year that you have your car, you’re behind on the latest cutting-edge safety features.
According to , every car should have a backup camera, curtain airbags, electronic stability control (ESC), and forward-collision warning. Is your car equipped?
The difference isn’t substantial in one or two years, but if you’ve accumulated five or more years on your car, it may be time for an upgrade. When you’re transporting precious cargo like your family, you don’t want to take any chances with safety.
Have you ever bought a brand-new car in the year before the manufacturer makes a major body-style change? Nothing can make your car seem older than having rounded curves when all the new models have sleek edges.
Regardless of how long you’ve had your vehicle before the manufacturer changed styles, you may still want to remain somewhat current. If the newer models of your vehicle look like they’re a decade younger, it’s probably time to buy a new one.
If your family has grown since the last time you bought a car, you might be due for a new vehicle. In this case, you may want to consider a , crossover or minivan instead of your sedan. With more seating, legroom and safety features, SUVs and crossovers are becoming a popular choice for growing families.
It’s pricier and more time consuming to maintain an older vehicle than it is a new one. Engines that have been in use for 100k miles or more become a little needy. This means spending more money on oil changes for that high-mileage oil and taking more frequent trips to the auto mechanic for tune-ups. Maintenance expenses are minimal with a new vehicle.
5.Peace Of Mind
You’re much less likely to break down on the road with a new vehicle than with an older one. This is a natural concern for many families, because no one wants to get stuck with an SUV full of kids on your way to soccer practice. And breakdowns also come with unexpected expenses that can range from mild to outrageous. With a new vehicle, you won’t have any of these worries.
When was the last time you bought a new vehicle?
Service Schedules Are Important: Keep Your Vehicle In Great Shape
For most of us, our car is the second biggest investment after a home. New or used, it probably cost you tens of thousands of dollars, maybe even more.
It, therefore, goes without saying that you need to care for your car to the best of your abilities. You need to clean the car regularly to keep it sparkling clean, you need to take it to the repair shop whenever you have dents, and you need to make sure that your tire pressure is at a good level at all times. And, if you want the car to last even longer without a drop in efficiency, you also need to take it in for scheduled servicing!
What is Scheduled Servicing?
Scheduled servicing refers to a maintenance plan and is a bit different from regular maintenance in that it covers a broader scope. In regular maintenance, you’ll have the brakes checked, the oil changed, and the tires rotated at a centre.
Scheduled maintenance, on the other hand, covers a lot more. During the process, car technicians will get deeper into the internal components of the car and test practically everything to find out whether the automobile is safe, reliable, and in its best shape. For most cars, scheduled servicing is usually performed every 30,000 miles, 60,000 miles, or 90,000 miles. The good news is – the frequency is always indicated in your car owner’s manual.
Why It’s So Important
There are three very important reasons you should take your car for scheduled servicing:
- Prevents breakdowns: By performing scheduled maintenance on the car, you’re doing it a great favor. During maintenance, parts that are on the verge of wearing out will be replaced and any bends, broken parts, leaking hoses, or other issues that might affect the efficiency of the car or even cause total breakdown would be uncovered. By catching these issues early, you’re .
- Ensures maximum performance: As with all other machines, cars wear and tear. They also get old, and with that comes reduced efficiency. The engine, for instance, might start to consume more fuel, not because of malfunction, but because some parts aren’t performing to full potential. Scheduled maintenance helps to adjust these parts, replace non-functioning parts, and improve overall efficiency. It makes the car feel “new” again.
- Can save you money: When you put the first two benefits together, you’ll realize that scheduled servicing can even save you money. If some of those pending breakdowns are caught early and replaced, you’d have saved yourself thousands of dollars worth of repairs. Scheduled servicing can also prevent costly accidents. A broken timing belt, for instance, can cause massive engine failure which can lead to problems on the road. At a scheduled servicing, such an issue would be caught and addressed, preventing any potential accidents.
It’s true that you’ll have to pay for the servicing. But given the numerous benefits, it is always money well spent. You absolutely need to honor those appointments.
Your Beginner’s Guide To Off-Roading
Having a four-wheel drive car provides peace of mind when navigating winter weather or the back roads, but why stop there? If you own a capable 4WD SUV or truck, there’s a whole world of off-road adventures waiting for you!
Never been off-roading? Not sure how to get started? You’re in luck! We have collaborated with the SUV and truck experts at to bring you a beginner’s guide to off-roading that we hope will help you better experience the full potential of your 4WD vehicle!
Step One: Get To Know Your Vehicle’s Off-Road Potential
If you already own a 4WD truck or SUV, it’s probably capable of traveling off-road. Knowing exactly which off-road friendly mechanisms your vehicle has, however, is important before tackling the trails. about your vehicle’s make, model, trim level and model year, and find out if you need to make any modifications before heading out. You may want to invest in off-road tires, underbody protection plates, some additional lighting, or a vehicle lift.
As an added bonus, if you bring your vehicle in for service and modifications, you’ll get access to expertise from a professional who knows about off-road vehicles and their mechanisms. Don’t be afraid to ask your mechanic questions!
Step Two: Find An Off-Road Community
Do you know any friends, family members or acquaintances who have off-road experience? If so, reach out to them and ask if they would be interested in showing you the ropes! Even if you don’t have any personal relationships with an off-roader, you can always find a online.
There are plenty of forums dedicated to off-roading, some dedicated to specific areas. Finding a community will make off-roading safer and more enjoyable, and is a great way to make new friends with similar interests.
Step Three: Learn The Lingo
The world of off-roading has its own set of terms and jargon, and it’s a good idea to read up on them before getting started. Not only will speaking the jargon make it easier for you to communicate with other off-roaders, but it will also give you a good foundation for understanding your vehicle’s mechanisms and capabilities.
Important terms to become familiar with include approach and breakover angle, locking differential, and 4WD high vs 4WD low. Hitting up Google or any other search engine will reveal many “Off-Road Dictionaries” that you can learn from.
Step Four: Go For It!
Ultimately, the best way to learn is by doing. But make sure you’ve done all of your homework and that your vehicle is prepared for the journey before hitting the trails. Bringing along someone with off-road experience is helpful, but if you can’t find anyone, just make sure to bring along a friend to assist with any trouble that may arise. Two hands are better than one, right?
Don’t have a capable 4WD vehicle but still want to start off-roading? Get in touch with professionals like those at Texan Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram to show you their incredible selection of trucks and SUVs and advise you on the best vehicle to with! Once you have one, try to find a private facility with beginner trails or a local area with low difficulty to ease yourself into off-roading before taking on more challenging trails.
No matter what you do, make sure to stay safe and have fun!