While buying a new car may sound like a better option, this is not to say that purchasing a used car is out of the question – for less money, you can buy a used car that is larger and loaded with more features than the smaller new cars that might not have the extra features.

That being said, buying a used vehicle comes with its own risks, which could cost you more throughout the lifespan of the vehicle, Philip Wealth Planner Sdn Bhd’s Pauline Yong. The fact is that you are buying a car that someone once owned, and you do not know how well it has been cared for. Moreover, a used vehicle will require maintenance and possibly expensive repairs far sooner than a newer vehicle, and these repairs are probably not covered by warranty.

Nevertheless, you can minimise these risks with the following steps:

Previous Owner’s History

Check the name of the previous owner from the car title and try a Google search on the internet to see if you can get hold of his or her contact details. If you are lucky, you can try calling him or her to ask about the problems he or she has had with the car.

Test Drive

Before you buy a used vehicle, a thorough examination and a test drive are in order. A valuable and informative test drive should be more than a demonstration whereby the salesperson explains the features of the vehicle.

The test drive should demonstrate the driving conditions in many ways such as on the highway, in the city on hills and so on.  While on the road, pay attention to the engine when accelerating, and make sure that the driving is smooth when the car picks up speed.

Complete A Visual Inspection

Do a thorough check of the exterior and interior of the vehicle. Look underneath for any signs of frame damage or collision repairs and/or any missing, loose or ill-fitting body parts; check the engine compartment and trunk for fresh paint that might reveal prior damage or signs of an accident. 

Check with Your Mechanic

If possible, pay a small fee and bring a qualified mechanic with you to examine the vehicle together. First, check the engine operation, all electrical and comfort amenities such as windows, lights, turn signals, air conditioning, and the horn to make sure they are working; next, check the brakes and finally, bring the mechanic along for a test drive.

When an inspection reveals minor defects, you can use the information to negotiate for either a lower price or get the dealer to agree in writing to fix the problem(s) before you proceed to purchase the vehicle.