What to Consider Before Purchasing a Pre-Owned Vehicle

Buying a brand new vehicle is easy – just choose the make/model, provide required documents and give money – there ends the matter. However, not everybody can afford a brand new car. Many have to

Buying a brand new vehicle is easy – just choose the make/model, provide required documents and give money – there ends the matter. However, not everybody can afford a brand new car. Many have to adjust expectations to one that is pre-owned. Purchasing a pre-owned or used car is not an easy job as it is with a new one. You have to be educated and aware, as it often requires detailed examination and thorough research in order to get the best deal.

As a starting point, it is always better to visit licensed auto dealers when you’re interested in purchasing a pre-owned car. They will have many models and most importantly the car that matches your requirement and budget. Other items to consider are provided below.

Track record of the dealer
Before you approach a dealer, it is always better to know about used-car dealers in your region and their track record. Reviews about the car dealers could be found either by searching online or by getting feedback from the customers who already bought cars from those dealers. Take help of your friends and relatives in getting the information about reliable dealers.

History & current status of the car

Once you have decided the dealer, it’s time to check for the history of the car. Being informed about the history of the car is especially important in case of pre-owned cars, since they are already used and sold for some or the other reason.

Ask your dealer to give contact details of the owner and if possible make a phone call and enquire about the condition of the car, and find out if it met with any accident.

Check car & its documents
After choosing a car, check its condition (both exterior and interior) and the documents related to the car. Always inspect the car during day time as you may not be able to see some issues in the dark.

Things to look in a pre-owned car:

  • The total distance traveled by the car. A car with an average of 12,000 km a year is good to buy
  • The engine should start smoothly and should not produce any unusual noise or black smoke while accelerating
  • Check the odometer. If it is not working, don't go for that car. In some states it is illegal to sell or buy such kind of cars
  • Check for the condition of tires and the battery. Tires should be in good shape and the battery in good condition
  • Finally, look at the electrical components like the lights, audio system and the AC


Coming to the documents, though dealers provide service warranties, ask for the warranty provided by the manufacturer. Also check if all the finances are cleared. Check for the important documents like vehicle registration and insurance.

Test drive
Though many dealers offer test drive, it is your responsibility to insist for a test drive to check the condition of the car. Observe the condition of the engine, while you are on the test drive. If you find any problem at that point you can either get the problem fixed or go for another car. If possible, ask your mechanic to take the test drive.

Services & warranties

Once you are satisfied with the car and its performance, check for the warranties provided by the dealer. Ask for the free services and check for their expiry dates, if any. Car dealers with service departments offer different kinds of warranties. Some dealers will also provide service and maintenance warranties. Hence, it is necessary to be clear about every service and warranty and to get them on paper before leaving the dealership.

If you take care of the above mentioned things, you can possibly get a best deal. However, a certified dealer always sells certified pre-owned cars which are almost problem-free. Hence, it is often better to go for an authorized and reliable dealer to get the best pre-owned car deals.

Looking for Ford San Diego? Visit Encinitas, a Ford dealer in San Diego specializing in new and pre-owned Ford vehicles, service & parts. This San Diego Ford dealer sells reliable and fuel efficient cars for people in the San Diego area.

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