Affiliate Disclosure: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or any other merchant site, are affiliate links and I get paid a commission if you purchase. These commissions will never come at a cost to yourself.
The odds are you have already done your research and found the most suitable new used car for you.
Going through the rigorous car buying process is one part of the puzzle because there are a number of other things that you need to do before you can start using your used car fully if you do not know what to do after buying a used car then read on as we show you.
In this article, we are going to explore essential checks you should make before buying a used car and what to do after buying a used car.
Essential Checks You Should Make Before Buying A Used Car
Getting a used car void of any troubles is not a miracle or a blessing; it all boils down to good research.
Your ability to notice problems on the used vehicle can save you a lot of future issues, here are some things you should check on the used car after purchase.
Check The Window Sticker
This particular check will do you some good before you buy the used car but it also applies after the car has been purchased.
There is a Buyer’s Guide placed on the window of every used car that goes on sale, this Guide is placed there by the dealers as requested by the Federal Trade Commission.
This Guide contains information that lets you know if the vehicle is being sold with or without a warranty amongst other things.
Any contrary information on the sales contract has overridden the information on the guide.
What this means is that if you find out on the Guide that the car still has a warranty then the dealer has no choice than to abide by that warranty.
All of these checks under-listed will come in handy in your nearest future so ensure you carry out all of them.
Get The Car Inspected
Regardless of the car dealer or whoever your used car was purchased from, ensure to thoroughly check the vehicle. If you can, you should take it to a technician for a thorough check-up.
Get some worn-out clothes on and check underneath the vehicle alongside the technician, by watching him or her work you will learn a thing or two about the car or cars in general.
You can get a friend to go with you and ensure the inspection is carried out during the daytime under the natural bright lights of the sun when there is no rainfall.
Check The External Parts Of The Vehicle
Ensure you check every part of the vehicle outside like the body, roof, panel, and others. This search will help you notice dents, scratches, and rust. Take close looks at the lines of the doors and fenders.
Large gaps or misaligned panels can indicate a shoddy repair in the past or a sloppy joining work by the manufacturers.
Ensure that every part of the body panel has the same finish and color.
If you suspect that there may be a dent on the body filler, place a small magnet on its magnet does not stick to an area with body filler.
Check The Insides
The interior of the vehicle is the most essential part of the car. Whereas the exterior does a lot for the visual appeal of onlookers, the interior is where you will spend most of your time.
Smell: The first thing you should do when you open the car door is to take a sniff at the interior, if you perceive a musty smell this means that there may be water leaks from the roof.
Check for wet spots under the carpet, if you perceive an acrid smell then the vehicle may have been owned by a smoker.
The Car Seats: Ensure you test all the seats including the ones at the back.
This will help you ascertain if the upholstery is badly worn or ripped especially if the vehicle has low mileage. Check all the seat adjustments and make sure they work.
The Pedals: The rubber on the clutch, gas pedals and brake shows how much the vehicle has been used.
You will not find much wear on a car with low mileage, if the pedal is worn out in certain spots it means that the car may have been overused.
Controls And Instruments: Turn the ignition switch of the car on but avoid getting the engine started.
A few seconds later, you should see all the warning lights on before going off after a few seconds.
Observe if the engine has a hard start when it’s cold; check every button, lever, and switch.
While the engine is still running check how hot the heater of the car gets and its speed too. Additionally, test the air conditioning and see its condition.
The Sound System: Check every sound emanating part of the vehicle like the radio and CD Player ( if the car has one).
The Roof: Check the trim and headliner for sags or stains to check if there is any leakage through the roof, windows, or door. Check to see if the sunroof of the vehicle still works as it should.
Check The Trunk: You have to employ the use of both your senses here. Look and sniff for any sort of water entry signs.
Check if the spare tire has any rust or water, and check if the carpet in the trunk feels musty or wet.
Check Under The Car’s Hood
Ensure you check under the hood of the car when the engine of the car is cool.
First, take a look at the car’s general condition at the engine bay. You certainly will find dust and dirt which are not strange.
However, you should be worried if there is any sign of splattered oil on or around the pavement beneath the compartment of the engine.
You should also keep your eyes open for hoses and wires hanging loose and battery concealed with corrosion.
Check Beneath The Car
If you can find the usual parking spot of the vehicle check if the area is marked from puddles of oil, transmission fluid, coolant, or puddles of gasoline.
You may find water dripping from beneath the car on a hot day, this is usually liquid from the car’s air conditioner.
Check The Tailpipe Of The Car For Residue: If the tailpipe is greasy and black, this indicates burnt oil because a typical tailpipe ought to have a dark and dry gray smudge.
Rusting on the tailpipe is expected but if the rust is heavy then the exhaust system of the car may need to go.
If there is enough space under the vehicle so that you can hide under then you should go there to carry out some other checks there or leave it to your mechanic to check for you if the space is not wide enough.
Check the constant-velocity-joint boots on a front-wheel-drive car. They are black, rubber, round bellows at the ends of the axle shafts.
If you notice the boots divided with grease leaking out, this may indicate that the CV joints of the car are damaged.
You can tell if the car has had any accidents in the past by structural components with lathe dents and kinks on the fuel tank or floor pan.
If you notice any welding on the frame of the car, that means that a damaged area may have been cut out or replaced for repairs.
Get The Vehicle To A Mechanic Of Your Choosing
This is the last and most important check you need to do before buying a used car as it plays a vital role is what to do after buying a used car (if you eventually buy the car after all the checks).
Ensure you get the car scrutinized by a repair shop that is used for diagnostic work.
The car dealer should be able to let you take the car and have a mechanic inspect it as long as they have the means to identify and locate you.
The Mechanic will let you know the state of the vehicle which will determine if you buy the car or not.
What To Do After Buying A Used Car
- Register The Car And Transfer The Title
- Get The Car Insured
- Go Through The Owner’s Manual
- Fix Outstanding Problems
- Carryout Constant Maintenance
- Take It For A Drive
Register The car And Transfer The Title
If the used car was purchased from a dealer that would mean that the necessary paperwork has been completed with the salesperson.
However, if the car was purchased from a private owner, make sure you visit a DMV to get the transfer of the car’s title finalized from the last owner and get the car registered in your name with your state of residence.
For the vehicle to be successfully registered, you have to bring the proof of insurance, title, proof of address, and identification.
The state you live in determines whether or not you bring a completed emissions test and vehicle safety inspection.
The exact requirements for your state can be found with DMV.org’s interactive map.
Get The Car Insured
It is highly recommended that the insurance estimates are researched before you purchase a car.
This research will ensure you get the best deal and plan your budget around the added cost.
Regardless of all that, the vehicle can still be insured after purchase. You may have insured your vehicle through the dealership’s partner when the paperwork was filled.
During your insurance shopping, ensure to find out the types of coverage that are needed in your state.
Also, optional coverages on how much protection you want should be considered and how your budget can accommodate them.
There are around five types of insurance coverage, take your time to study each of them, and chose the most suitable one for you.
Get Familiar With The Owner’s Manual
The most informative place about a car is the owner’s manual. The information there will ensure you take proper care of the new used vehicle as it helps you know what to do after buying a used car.
It is not necessary to read every part of the manual but it is a good idea to read enough of it and learn the service intervals and maintenance recommendations for your car.
The owner’s manual will give you enough answers about the car like how much pressure your tires need, and the preferred oil for it.
Fix Outstanding Problems
Earlier in this article, I mentioned getting a mechanic to get this vehicle checked for any issues.
If you find any issues after that check and still went ahead to purchase that car then you should make all the necessary repairs.
Noticing these repairs and still sticking with the car means that the issues you found are not a stretch for you to fix, but sometimes after paying you may notice problems that did not seem to be there during the initial check.
Get all of these issues fixed as soon as possible to avoid additional issues in the nearest future which will cost you more money.
You should also check to see if any service recalls still exist for the car. Get in touch with the previous owner or the dealership to check if the service recall repairs have been attended to.
Carryout Constant Maintenance
After you study and understand the maintenance schedules in your owner’s manual ensure to follow through with the stipulated upkeep.
This upkeep includes; fluid replacement, battery replacement, oil change, or tire rotation.
The overall health of your vehicle will be at its best if you adhere to these intervals.
Take It For A Drive
After finding out what to do after buying a used car, the only thing you have to do is familiarize yourself with the features of your car.
Get in your new used vehicle and take it out for a spin around the town, enjoy the freedom and excitement of that new car.
Getting a used is a budget-friendly decision but ensuring the car is in a great state before you start using it is very important and these steps will help you get your car ready.