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5 Things to Look for When Buying a Used Car

Friday, 25 September 2020

Buying a used car gives you a chance to buy a quality vehicle and also save thousands of dollars. To ensure you end up with a quality car, you should properly inspect it before you pull the trigger and make the purchase. As obvious as that may sound, you will be surprised at how many buyers end up buying a used car without proper inspection, which can cost you more in the long run due to repairs and replacement parts.

When you have decided that buying a used car is the best option for you, you need to look out for certain things to ensure the vehicle is in a condition worth buying. In this blog, we will share the things you need to watch for in our 5 tips for buying a used car. 

Check the Registration Certificate Before Buying a Used Car

When you find a used car you’re interested in purchasing, the first thing you should do is ask to see the registration certificate. Make sure that the vehicle is registered to the person who is selling it. This way you don’t end up buying a stolen one. The registration certificate will also reveal how many times the car was previously sold, which will help you decide whether or not it is worth buying. If you notice that it was sold multiple times in a short span of time, this is a big red flag because it usually implies that there’s a problem with the vehicle.

Tips for Buying a Used Car: Check the Exterior

Another one of our tips for buying a used car is to inspect the exterior of the vehicle. There are various components to check such as dents, scratches, and the paint job. It is important you take your time to inspect every bit of the exterior because chipped paint and scratches will serve you well in reducing the price during negotiations.

One element of the car that is often overlooked is the windshield. Thoroughly inspect the windshield as you would the doors, trunk, hood, bumpers, and tires. A scratch or crack on the windshield can also help you negotiate a lower price. The best part is you can easily get a replacement windshield from a reputable windshield repair service at an affordable price and, in most cases, some of it may be covered by your insurance. Select an auto glass company that deals directly with your insurance company rather than having to deal with both. This will not only save time but will also ensure your insurance company pays for as much of the repair as possible after your deductible.

Another important part of the exterior that needs thorough inspection is the underbody and frame. Many buyers will shy away from inspecting the underbody because they would need to go under the car, but you should. You can inspect the exhaust system for leaks and look for rust in the frame and other parts.

Tips for Buying a Used Car: Inspect the Interior

When you are seriously considering buying a used car, taking a good look at the interior will reveal how well the car was treated by the previous owner. Inspect the seats, dashboard, and even the pedals of the car. Finding an interior that is filled with scratches, rips or stains indicates that the car was not well-maintained, which may impact more than just the interior aesthetic of the vehicle. Most sellers will get the car detailed before they sell it, but some damage to the interior cannot be so easily erased, so keep an eye out and check every nook and cranny of the car.

Tips for Buying a Used Car: Under the Hood of the Car

Another one of our tips for buying a used car is evaluate the car’s engine by looking under its hood. Besides, what’s a car without a quality engine? Under the hood you will find all the essential parts that make a car run effectively, so you need to make sure everything underneath is in good shape. If you aren’t familiar with the mechanics of the car, we recommend hiring a professional that can inspect under the hood when buying a used car. You should inspect the following:

  • Engine
  • Coolant, rust colour means water was used instead of coolant, and brown colour reveals if the head gasket is in bad condition
  • Oil cap of the engine, make sure there is no white substance on it revealing that the head gasket is in bad condition
  • Wiring, ensuring they are connected


Tips for Buying a Used Car: Consider the Mileage

Considering the mileage is a bit tricky because the mileage of the car doesn’t always reveal if it’s in good condition, but nonetheless, it’s something you should always check. It is common to find a high mileage, well-maintained car to be in as good a condition as a lower mileage option. When looking at the mileage, you should also ask for the maintenance record of the car. You need to consider the two together. A car with low mileage and poor maintenance record is likely to cause you more problems than a vehicle with high mileage and a good maintenance record. The reason you should consider mileage is because opting for an auto with higher mileage and a good maintenance record could end up saving you money when buying a used car.

Our Final Thought

One of the final tips for buying a used car is you need to be more vigilant with inspections as compared to buying a new car. Don’t rush to buy a car because hasty decisions rarely turn out to be good ones. If you aren’t overly familiar with cars and their components, it is always good to get a mechanic to come with you for the inspection.

It should go without saying that test driving the car is also important. The drive will reveal how everything functions from the engine to the wheel alignment, things you can’t really pick up just by inspecting the vehicle. We wish you the best of luck on your search and hope that our tips for buying a used car will help you make the right choice and save you some extra money. Another great decision that can save you money is to consider BIG insurance as your insurance provider. Contact a broker today for a free quote.


Tarek Salam is a Canadian auto glass repair technician with over a decade of experience repairing automotive glass for all makes and models of vehicles in Canada. He loves sharing interesting and useful information with the intention of educating and helping people make better automotive decisions.

By: Tarek Salem