Let's face it. New vehicles are expensive, so finding a good used one can save drivers a lot of money. It's tempting to look through ads, find a private seller who has what you're looking for and pay a price you think is a great deal. But when you go over to look at a used car, do you really know what to look for to uncover potential problems with it?
The answer is probably no. Used cars can look great on the outside, maybe even have lustrous paint and a super clean interior. But is it possible that vehicle's been in an accident? Does it have electrical problems you can't detect easily? Is any fluid leaking that you don't know about?
Think about it. You are about to spend thousands of dollars for a complex machine and you're considering judging its condition without much expertise. That's why it makes sense to have a qualified technician inspect any used vehicle you're considering buying.
Many vehicle repair facilities will do it for around $100-$200. They'll check to see what's working right and what's not working. They'll check for leaks and how strong the battery is; they'll look for signs it's been in an accident or has been painted. They'll look in places you'd find inaccessible, and they'll take it for a test drive to see what noises, vibrations and smells might give clues to any major problems. An inspection usually takes about an hour.
You should have an inspection done by a technician you know and trust. They'll have your best interests in mind. And the inspection should be done before you start negotiating a price with the seller. It's money well spent to either give you peace of mind that you're getting a good vehicle or steer you away from a lemon.
One sign a used vehicle isn't a good deal? If the buyer refuses to let you have it inspected. That says just about everything that needs to be said.
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