Anytime you make a big purchase, it’s important to do your research. In this day and age it’s a lot easier thanks to online reviews and consumer reports at our fingertips.
As great as that info is, it won’t do you much good if you aren’t sure what you are looking for. Sometimes you need to dig a little deeper; and read a little more, to make sure that you are making a good, informed choice. If you have an idea of the car you are interested in, make sure to follow this simple check list to make sure you are getting a safe vehicle.
DO MORE THAN A STANDARD TEST DRIVE
A drive around the block, or even up the interstate and back won’t tell you what you need to know. Spend more time in a vehicle to make sure that its going to meet your driving needs. Cup holders, sun visors, even ports for your cell phone! I once bought a vehicle with ONE plug. ONE. I have 3 kids – it didn’t work well. Try to make a list of things you know you need, what you want, and what you can’t stand, so that you make a good decision.
A “CARFAX” ISN’T ALWAYS ALL THE FACTS
Those Carfax reports can be great – they give you a decent history report of service history, and accidents – that were REPORTED> But not everything that happens to a car gets put on that report. Some people chose to repair vehicles themselves, or even ‘cover up’ certain damages that they didn’t turn in to their insurance companies.
Be sure to use a sharp eye to look inside and outside the car – look for molded , stained or discolored carpet or seats, and even paint – if it looks somewhat mismatched there could have been prior damage. I always recommend having a second pair of eyes go with you (a friend or relative) because 4 eyes are better than 2!
CHECK KBB OR EDMUNDS
Both sites can offer reviews, safety ratings, values and a plethora of information that could be useful in your search.
CHECK FOR RECALLS
I cannot stress this enough – so many times people will ignore recalls, and that can be a safety hazard to YOU. The seller is under no obligation to let you know there is one (if they are aware of it). So for your own benefit, check yourself!
DON’T FORGET THE TIRES/BRAKES
I make it MANDATORY (if I am buying from a dealer) that my tires are in tip top shape, if not brand new. I also have someone check the brakes to make sure those aren’t close to needing to be done. You should have a good year left on both!
Go with your gut – if you feel off about a vehicle, it’s OK to walk away. There are PLENTY out there. Take your time!
Making safe decisions when you’re purchasing a car is an important way to ensure you get a vehicle that keeps you secure for years to come !