Car Buying Guide for First Time Buyers

cars lined-up for sale

It’s exciting to buy a car whether it’s your first time or the twentieth. Apart from the excitement, there is that desire to finally owning the car of your choice and taking it home. Oftentimes, due to all the excitement, we forget to ask important questions or request for certain documents to determine whether what we are buying is worth its price tag. The guide below can help first-time car buyers get it right.

A Clean Carfax

Carfax is a commercial service that provides vehicle history reports for light trucks and used cars. You can ask for this report from your dealer s you can get an idea what happened to the car before it reached the dealership.

A Clean Title

When buying a used car, you have to know its history as mentioned above. Aside from getting a hold of its vehicle history report, you also need to ask if the title is clean. A vehicle having a clean title means that there is no lien against it i.e. any loans taken on the car have already been paid.

A clean title also indicates that the vehicle does not have a salvage title i.e. one that has been totaled and repaired. Cars with salvage titles are often sold at very low prices or are used for car parts. Getting a vehicle with a clean title also makes it easier for you to get comprehensive insurance.

Has the car ever been repainted?

Some car dealerships and private sellers don’t really want to declare that the vehicle they are selling has been in an accident. You would need to take a good look at the paint, in this case, to see if some of the colors are off. It is important to note though that the same paint can appear different when painted on plastic as compared to metal.

It is also important that you run a finger test on the car to find out if the paint is smooth. If you find a few rough patches, you will need to examine the area further.

The Interior Smells Like Secondhand Smoke

If you suspect that the previous owner of the vehicle that you like was or is a smoker, you can take a look at telltale signs such as burns and the smell of smoke itself. If you are not a smoker, it is best to choose a different car altogether. However, if the smell doesn’t bother you, you can haggle for a lower price.

Check Everything

It is imperative that you check all the windows and the locks of the vehicle to find out if they are working properly. The glass needs to be examined too to ensure that there aren’t any chips that can lead to cracks later on. Cruise control, wipers, turn signals, stereo, and all lights both interior and exterior must be checked as well.

It is equally important to look out for pitting or rust perforation especially if the vehicle came from an area where it is usually wet or cold. If you feel you need the assistance of a mechanic to check the vehicle for you, you can bring the car in for inspection. The inspection will reveal more than the usual visual check and can find out if there are leaks, if the brakes are okay, and if the defrost and heating elements are working properly, among other things.