Car Lot Finance

The Best Used Cars - Finding the Diamond on the Lot

It’s time. You know your car is on its way out. You’ll want to search among the best used cars for a replacement. But first, you must learn what features help distinguish the best used cars from the not-so-best options.

When shopping for a used car, the first thing you’ll want to check for is any indications of physical damage such as rust, cracks or dents. This includes not only the body, trunk, and interior, but also under the hood. The belts and hoses should not have cracks, and the radiator hose should not be soft. Replacements for these parts can total up to thousands of dollars, so be mindful when the price of a used car with a soft hose seems a little low.

Check the edges where the panels of the car join for any sticky spots or a difference in paint color from one panel to the next. Identification of these things could indicate that a panel was replaced and the vehicle might have been in a severe accident. If you learn that the vehicle has a history of accidents, you’ll want to take extra care in the inspection to ensure that all repairs were done professionally.

If there are any rust or mildew spots, steer clear. This means water has made its way into the car through a leak, and it will likely happen again. From this point on, the car is likely to continue to deteriorate physically, and it will not be the best investment you can make.

Check the air conditioning and heating system. This is one of the trickiest parts of inspecting a used car, but it can be one of the most costly if not done properly. Turn on the car and the air conditioning, allowing it to run for a few minutes. Step outside and look under the car to see if there are any coolant or radiator leaks.

The car’s age and mileage is perhaps the most common factor that car shoppers look at next to price. While mileage is an indicator of the car’s projected longevity, age should be taken into consideration as well. Cars made in the early 90s often use different parts than their newer brothers and sisters. About half to three-quarters of the way through a car’s life, it will require replacement of many key, expensive parts such as belts, water pump, and various hoses. Often, older parts are harder to track down so repairs will be more expensive and take longer. This is especially true with foreign cars, often requiring repair shops to special order the older parts needed. Sometimes, the repair shop will have to use gently used parts from other used cars Charlotte NC to repair older cars because production of the older parts has been discontinued.

For these reasons, an older car with less mileage isn’t necessarily the best option. However, a newer car with a lot of mileage isn’t always the best option either since mid-life maintenance time generally occurs between 80,000 and 100,000 miles. The solution is to find a middle ground.

The best used cars you can buy will be those that have some time before it’s time for these replacements, or after the expensive replacements have been made. Purchasing the car right when it’s about to require it’s routine maintenance updates just means you can tack more money onto great price you might be purchasing it for.

One of the most important things you’ll want to check out on your prospective used car is the electrical functions. This includes the door lock response, power windows, and any other power controls. Steer clear of any used cars that only unlock from one side, or have locks that do not match, as it can lead to electrical glitches that affect your car’s security in the future.

Ultimately, the best used cars are the ones that the owners really connect with on an ergonomic level. That means the car the feels better to drive should always be the tie-breaker in a close race. You want to make sure that you feel in control of the car, not the other way around, and that the car responds accurately to your actions. Do the controls feel intuitive to you? Does the gear shift feel sticky? After all inspections have been made, don’t forget to consider how comfortable the car feels.

Remember, the car you choose will be yours for the next few years, so you will want to be sure that you select among the best used cars available.