8 Practical Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying Any Pre Owned Vehicle

It can be hard to make the wisest decision when looking at pre owned vehicles, because you might be drawn to something for aesthetic reasons or because a car has a lot of power, status and gadgets. To make the right decision, you need to ask yourself many questions; of which, the following eight should be included, helping you to ultimately act in your best interest, without compromising anything.

1. Does The Price Tag Fit Your Budget?

Subtract whatever down payment you can afford from the price of the car you're interested in and if you have a trade-in too, knock the value of it off the top and you'll have a good idea of the total amount you'll be financing. However, the buck doesn't stop there. You need to consider the cost of fuel and insurance, as well as taxes and registration before you put the car on the road. Often, people get caught up in the emotional aspects of car buying and fail to realize the big picture in terms of cost. Know what you're getting yourself into long before you fall for that special car.

2. Where Did The Pre Owned Car Come From?

Most dealerships obtain their pre owned vehicles in one of two ways: Through trade-ins with other customers and at auction. Cars from auction might come from lease and fleet contracts and are generally considered to be well-kept, whereas trade-ins are more of a gamble. You don't know how well the previous owner might have taken care of the car or what they might have put it through. Find as much of this information out as possible, as it will help you make the best decision about whether to buy the car and at what price.

3. How Safe Is The Vehicle?

Just because a vehicle is pre owned, doesn't mean safety shouldn't be a priority for you. Look up the car's consumer rating for safety in crash testing and make sure you're still afforded the highest degree of integrity when it comes to protecting people.

4. What Will Your Gas Mileage Likely Be?

Various factors influence the fuel efficiency of a vehicle, beyond it's years and the number of miles it has been driven. Consider the condition of the tires, especially, as they not only play a major role in fuel efficiency, but safety and handling, as well. The U.S. Department of Energy offers a cool tool to help you estimate what your fuel efficiency might be for a pre owned vehicle. The approximate calculations can aid you in deciding whether or not a certain pre owned vehicle is affordable for you.

5. Was The Car Ever In An Accident?

Discovering a car's history can be as important as any other detail, because if it was in an accident, it might never perform at peak again. Accidents can damage a vehicle's frame, which could have a safety impact for you in the future. Although a car that's been in a serious accident should have some documentation of it, such as the word "rebuilt" in the title (meaning an insurer paid to have the vehicle put back together), you really need a thorough inspection of it to be sure. All things considered, if the damage was repairable and especially if the price of the car is reduced because of past history, you might still be able to buy it without fear of negative repercussions. Just be aware of all factors that may have an influence over how the car handles and protects you going forward.

6. Is The Warranty Good?

A good warranty is one of the most important aspects of buying a pre owned vehicle, no matter how old it is, what it's been through or how much it costs. Ideally, you want a manufacturer's warranty on parts, drive-train and more; however, having some promise from the dealership you buy from is also very important, even if it's only short-term. A "certified" pre owned vehicle will offer the most protection for you as a consumer, because the car has been inspected and refurbished (as or if needed) by a recognized authority, such as the manufacture itself.

7. Can You Take The Car To Your Own Mechanic Before You Buy It?

Most pre owned car dealerships won't mind if you drive a vehicle over to your own mechanic, so you can get a second, highly-detailed opinion on it. Try to arrange the inspection ahead of time with your mechanic, so there won't be a long wait involved and if anything is discovered to be wrong with the car you're hoping to buy, so long as it's not too bad, use those details to chip away the price tag.

8. Is This The Best Used Car Of Its Kind Available?

Once you're certain of a make and model, make sure you check out all cars fitting that description available in your area. For example, you might be interested in Model X, but the one you're looking at has a lot of miles and a mediocre warranty. Maybe you can find another Model X around town, only with fewer miles on it and a more secure warranty. Keep an open mind and try not to get emotionally attached to any one vehicle before all your options have been exhausted

As much as your heart might cry for a little red sports model or a car that feels like it's a space pod, your mind knows you need to make the decision that will work best for you, your budget and in a very practical sense. Ask yourself these and other questions, to be sure you're doing the right thing.