Things to Look for in the Vehicle
To begin with you need to interview yourself. There are some simple though very important questions for your future successful and durable purchase. Below there are key aspects of your interview to find out what model suits you the best. So be honest, reasonable and objective with yourself:
- What type of car do you actually need?
- What do you need a car for: family picnics, fast race, etc.?
- How often do you plan to use it? Is it going to be everyday usage or vocational only.
- How much is fuel efficiency important for you?
- Are you a fan of trendy novelties? What is more sufficient: quality and reliability or modern look and extra features?
This little questionnaire is necessary to avoid long and tiresome blind shopping and make the list of potential candidates smaller. Get to know all pros and cons of the requested product, compare vital features instead of torturing yourself with a long search.
Definitely the selection procedure of a used car differs from buying a new one in terms of your driving preferences, comfort and luxury demand. If the main reason you change your current variant is a desire to drive with sunroof open, it's not a bad thing. Just keep in mind that extra conveniences of used cars usually come together with high prices. Sometimes the price is not worth paying even for the highest level of comfort.
Depending on your demands as for basic and extra features you will receive a clearer picture of your interest, be it slight trim updates or all-inclusive luxury packages with dashboard navigation and entertainment, alloy wheels and heated seats.
We offer you a list of initial things you should consider while selecting a pre-owned car. So check what you are recommended to invest in and what may turn out to be an impressive money waste.
Four-Wheel DriveWhether you like it or not but your living area dictates some conditions for your used car selection. Do you live in areas that are prone to heavy winter snowfalls or are you suffering from extra mud in spring and autumn? An obvious and necessary solution comes with some sort of four-wheel drive. The most affordable and popular demonstration of this technology is an all-wheel drive. It works for sedans, crossovers and a number of small SUVs.
Flexible Interior SolutionsComfy driving is about driver's comfort, so adjustable front and rare seats are considered to be top components of a good car. Such flexibility of seats grants comfortable space for driver's legs. Besides it also offers adaptation to any drivers' height. Some more comfy flexibility of interior comes with adjustable foot pedals and telescopic steering wheels. Thanks to such adjustable options it is now possible to find fuel economy and pleasant drive compromise even for very tall drivers. Thus, we officially approve such variants.
Keyless Entry OptionOne more smart investment of yours is about remote-control key fobs. It is no longer a luxury but a top popular option for comfortable securing or mere assessment of your vehicle. Have you ever tried to unlock your car manually after visiting a supermarket when your hands are busy holding numerous packs? Indeed, it was a trick worth any circus show. Admit, it's more natural to open the doors with one button while you are approaching. This solution is not new on the market together with automatically unlocked doors, so you can easily find these extra comfort offers and improve your daily driving routine.
Accessory JacksThat's good news for all music fans who prefer driving accompanied by favorite tracks instead of obligatory radio programmers or tunes. With the help of such little outlet like auxiliary jack you can connect your iPod, MP3 player or another device to your vehicle radio and avoid spending money on additional costly radio adapters. Besides, you will not pile up your car storage place with tons of CDs saving extra space for other necessities.
Don'ts for InvestmentsIt is totally up to you what features to search for and give preference to in your new re-owned car. However, any used car purchase is connected with tight budget so we stand for efficiency instead of costly luxury. Below here are our recommendations as for less useful and less cost-effective features for your smart purchase. It is solely based on our experience and we hope it will be helpful:
Protective CoveringUsually one of the components of high prices is the so-called "paint protection". In fact, most car dealers charge extra fees for a mere wax layer of protection. We highly recommend avoiding such offers. Instead if you are pretty concerned about paint chipping or fading, be advised to apply for professional help. As an alternative which is also better that an initial wax offer is to purchase a quality product and trust your car to the person you are 100% sure of - yourself.
MultimediaWe said in favor of smart auxiliary jacks in your future vehicle, but still we are definitely against expensive touch screens and other cool bells and whistles. They do not only cost much, but their efficiency is not proved because, as a rule, it's impossible to update their software. You are in search of a used car, not outdated platforms, aren't you? Besides, you can receive sufficient multimedia functionality for less money if you consider secondary market GPS systems - TomTom or Garmin, for instance.
Premium Package ComponentsIf you prefer luxury and look for its elements like sunroofs, you are very welcome to the market. The only thing to remember is that such elements usually come in one package with other obligatory luxury components, for example, premium package. So you will be charged for extra accessories that are not in your request list.
Drivetrain SpecificationOnce you're done with pre-arrangements and made up your mind which features you are interested in and which you prefer to avoid, it's high time you thought about drivetrain. Put it simple, drivetrain is a combination of different components which are responsible for a car drive. At this point two basic components are worth your attention: engine and transmission. The diverse number of sizes as well as numerous setups of these two parts destines the fuel efficiency level, car performance on the road and its handling. That's why one of the most important things during the purchase of a used car is drivetrain selection. Check for several clues prior to actual search:
TransmissionWithin several past decades the majority of cars usually come with 4, 5 or 6-speed automatic transmissions. By default such transmissions shift gears automatically reducing out-dated clutch. As a result, you receive more simplified and pleasant driving experience.
Old times when a driver operated manual transmission with the help of stick shift and clutch pedal have almost sunk into oblivion. Its hard-to-operate nature is currently substituted with updated automatic solution; however, some modern drivers still respect and feel a kind of nostalgia for manual transmission times.
If you are eager to become an owner of a manual one, get prepared to hard search on the first place. Your perfect choices in such case are out of production sporty coupes or sedans at a reasonable price.
Engine and Fuel EfficiencyWe have combined these two important things in 1 chapter due to their close connection. As for decent engine selection, keep in mind these two data:
- Pistons number inside the engine
- Air amount displaced by these pistons (usually provided in liters).
With the help of this statistics you will find it easy to define if the vehicle you are looking at is a fuel economy one or a real powerhouse in terms of consumption.
There is another clue about inverse connection between fuel efficiency and horsepower index. The higher the fuel efficiency is, the less power is produced. You can determine this connection with the help of a number of engine pistols. For instance, enormous 8-cylinder engines generate much power still lack fuel efficiency. On the contrary 4-cylinder engines boast the highest fuel efficiency levels, however, lack power generation. You are welcome to test different engines capacity by simple displacement.
Vivid examples and numbers: in the pair of Toyota Yaris 1,5 L, 4-cylinder and the same Toyota but sporty variant 2,5L engine the first one is more about fuel economy, still it is less powerful. So if you prefer max miles-per-gallon index, you'd better search for a small SUV and compact 4-cylinder car with max 40 miles per gallon on a highway.
Looking for something bigger and more powerful? Then you should consider 6-cylinder engine with max 20 miles per gallon within the city and 30 for highway; or as an alternative 8-cylinder engines. The latter have a bit worse fuel efficiency in comparison to 6-cylinder ones, but they do generate more power. It refers to full-sized luxury sedans, pickups and massive performance-oriented vehicles.
Essential Info for Used Car Purchase
Fuel Type and HybridsWhen it comes to fuel type most drivers worldwide use standard unleaded gasoline. However, mere fuel choice can dramatically affect the efficiency and power of drivetrain. With the invention of hybrid electric-gasoline cars as well as totally electric ones it has become vital to select a decent fuel type and calculate fuel consumption prior to car purchase.
These new hybrid offers appeared on the car market just some decades ago and have already become market leaders. They are much faster than average vehicles using the same amount of gas, still this benefit costs much. Such hybrids are way more expensive than traditional auto representatives, so this extra cost requires long years of driving to nullify this money difference. Important: High cost refers to used hybrids as well.
As for electric vehicles, they seem to be indeed revolutionary - gas-free and eco-friendly. However, they also have serious cons: high price and constant recharge after each 200 miles (or 322 km). In order to avoid complications and difficulties in the future, take some time and calculate if such novelties are worth your investment.
Diesel Compromise: Fuel Economy vs. Health DangerIndeed recent researches of World Health Organization have proved harmful diesel fumes influence on the human health creating cancer risk. That's why prior to buying a car with a diesel engine which is considered to be an effective solution for heavy trucks and can offer up to 50% improved fuel economy in comparison to standard engines, think about your health and risks involved.
Tough Choice of a CarmakerMythBuster: Actually there is no one and only or the best car manufacturer in the field. Of course, there are leaders in the class still with annual updates and changes. Even the most named brands do have some cons. That's why we highly recommend surfing the Internet for as much information as possible including customers' feedback and professionals' recommendations. Search for features and characteristics you are interested in and do not trust one or two resources only.
Most customers' reports say in favor of Japanese Toyota and Honda brands for perfect cost effectiveness and quality choice. To find more variants check Edmunds' "Best Bets" catalogue. Still it's just about your taste and preferences.
Important: Luxury European vehicles like Mercedes, Audi and BMW require rather expensive and timely maintenance. Reason - imported parts.
ReliabilityIf you ask how many miles a good used car should have, the answer will be "It depends!" On the one hand, it depends on a car model still it does not give you a full picture or reliability measure when you think about mileage solely. Numbers vary. Approximate numbers for you to be aware of the situation are the following: 12,000-15,000 miles per year are norm for an average used car. It can help you to justify if the car of interest is overdriven and has risks of breakdown or it is worth buying.
Here we should also note that even high mileage data do not always mean that the car is unreliable. You can check total car reputation which consists of annual costs of maintenance, average cost of repair and other costs involved as well as failure frequency via Yahoo or Edmunds. Example: as per car reputation 2005 Honda Civic (with 60,000 miles) stands higher than, let's say, 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier with just 30,000 miles, So once you receive more information, you can proceed further.
Basic SafetyWhen it comes to safety no compromise is acceptable, as in case of any serious car collision heated seats or fuel economy will be the last things to bother. Your car is obliged to guarantee safety in case of collision. Below here are some basic safety requirements:
- Airbags are real life requirements and must-have for any car without an exception. The most secure variant is cars with side airbags for additional safety. Family with kids should be interested in cars with a turn-off airbags option as they are dangerous for kids under 12.
- Anti-Lock Brakes prevent cars' wheels from sudden stop, skidding and locking up. This safety option is not a must, still it is irreplaceable for icy surfaces.
- Electronic Stability Control grants smooth turn and prevents your car from rollover when you swerve. It is a recommended feature especially for heavy minivans and SUVs.
- Acceptable or Good IIHS crash test result. Annual rating reports of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety based on severe collision test include each and every model. Look for high scores.
Financial Highlights: WarrantyYour nightmare of blown transmission only after a month of used car purchase can come true, alas. It refers even to the most reliable variants that are also prone to unexpected breakdowns. To avoid such surprises it's vital to think about warranty.
The initial factory warranty for some certified vehicles goes with some basic coverage for a limited term after the purchase. If you are interested in such warranty, be advised to buy your car from a certified dealer. In order to qualify your auto must be less than 5 years old and have less than 60,000 miles run. Warranty length varies from 1 year to 6 years. It depends on the car model.
In case you purchase your used car using private dealer services, you cannot count on certified warranty. However, you can always use third party provider's contract. Always check the necessity of warranty because this may appear to be of zero necessity. It depends on how costly or how new your car is.
Finally, if you buy a car for your teen kid, you won't actually need costly provider's extended warranty, because average repair will be more reasonable and cost-effective. Check Edmunds for more info. Still for some brand cars like 2004 Mercedes provider's warranty is worth trying.
Obligatory Study: Your Car HistoryIt is good to trust people, however, when it comes to salesmen and car dealers it's better to check twice and never take it for granted. In fairness there are many honest and experienced salesmen in the USA, still it doesn't mean that your dealer is among them. That's why prior to making your final decision and actual purchase you should require or even demand your future car history report from your dealer.
Such vehicle reports are provided by different services as AutoCheck or CarFax and include car ownership history, number of accidents and road collisions it's been in and even how many times airbags have been opened to see the number of unreported accidents. Always check the car history as its the most important study in your life to reveal drawbacks in advance.
Still these fairly useful reports can assist in detection of all official repairs and insurance claims cases only. It means that unfortunately all in-door garage repairs are not claimed. So check the report and inspect your future car with passion and attention.