Car Buying

5 Things Smart Shoppers Look For Before Buying a Used Car

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Here is the list of five important things you, the car buyer, should pay attention to when on the dealership lot or when checking out the same vehicle online.

1.    Interior Condition of the Vehicle
There are many things to check in detail when inspecting the interior of a vehicle.

  • Check the interior upholstery carefully for any tears or stains.
  • Check if the air-conditioning and heating system exhausts are blowing air properly.
  • Check the odometer for car mileage.
  • Check different lights that are inside the vehicle, like hand brake indicator, ability to change the intensity of dash board display, dome light, radio, CD player, etc.
  • Make sure Check Engine light is off, if the indicator is on, avoid that car.

2.    Exterior Condition of the Vehicle
Check the exterior condition of the vehicle in general, including:

  • The paint job of the vehicle, check for any rust spots, dents or scratches.
  • Inspect for signs of rust or water entry due to cracks or holes
  • Be sure tires are worn evenly and are the same kind. Don’t forget to check the spare tire as well.
  • Make sure headlights and brake lights are working properly.

3.    Online Reviews of the Vehicle
Read online reviews about the make and model of the used car you want to purchase.  The review contains all the advantages and disadvantages of the vehicle. You should also search for customer reviews before making the decision to purchase the used car.

4.    Price of the Vehicle
It is important to research the price of the used car to ensure you are paying the right price.  Use several different sources such as Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds to compare prices for the same year, make, and model.  While the final price of the vehicle will depend on the vehicle’s mileage and its condition, but researching the price will give you a good idea on the possible price range.

5.    History of the Vehicle
Determine if the vehicle has been any accidents or has had any major repairs. Obtain the vehicle’s VIN number or ask the salesperson about the vehicle history report. Most dealership these days offer free CarFax or AutoCheck reports on their website. If neededScience Articles, you can obtain the vehicle’s VIN number from the dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle.  The vehicle history report can help you make a more confident decision when buying a used car.
The history report may contain all or most of the following:

  • If the vehicle has been in a major accident
  • How many owners the vehicle’s has had
  • The odometer history of the vehicle
  • If the vehicle was ever a lemon
  • If the vehicle has any flood damage

Source: Free Articles from


If you are searching for a used vehicle in the Kansas City area, there are many places online to compare models and prices to ensure you are getting the best deal. Visit our website, at to compare used cars for the best deals.

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    • Richard Tebaldi

      Interesting article. I just bought a used Mitsubishi Outlander without sticking to my plan of NEVER buying a car you didn’t research first. We were looking for a Subaru, but weren’t able to find one that fit our needs. We saw the Outlander and looked hard at it. I WANTED to do some more research on it, but they brought out “the big gun”. When the rep has done his best to sell you the car, he brings out the mgr. He will be a nice guy and tell you so, that he wants to know what it will take to sell you the car now. He is VERY effective and has a great line. FORTUNATELY, we’ve owned the car for a month now and are happy with the deal we made, but it wasn’t smart. I’m pretty good at “seeing” a good used car, so when he dropped the price a couple K, it became a “good deal” for me. My suggestion…If you see a car you didn’t research and you get a deal you “can’t refuse” first check underneath the car for excess rust and frame damage. Swing the doors. If they are ‘loose”, it could be a “well used car” instead of a “good” used car. A fender bender nowadays is a replacement part instead of a bondo job and still could be a good deal.
      Get a carfax report and ask for a few days to research. If he says o.k. tell him it has to be the last price quoted, confirm this, and if it needs some work ask for it to be done by a certain time. This will give the seller more incentive to give you a day or so to do your homework. Try Consumers Reports for used cars. A few bucks could save you some money…