Used Cars – What to Look for While Shopping

Used cars – what to look for? – this is a natural question that comes to our head as soon as we start considering a pre-owned vehicle. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or a friend, there are certain things you should know before you make the purchase.

It’s essential to go through the checklist of a used car before deciding what to choose. But if you consider all the details carefully, you’ll end up with a vehicle that you might stick with for good.

What to look for when buying used cars? – you’ll find all the answers below.

Why might it be better to buy a used car?

If you’re considering spending a fortune on a brand new vehicle, I advise you to think again and contemplate all the advantages of buying a used car instead.

It’s way cheaper

Used cars could be half the price of a new model. Of course, their value depends on countless factors, but still – they are way more inexpensive.

Moreover, they’re cheaper to maintain in general. Their parts don’t cost as much (and they are easier to find unless you bought a discontinued model or a limited edition) because they are available all over the repair shops.

It’s quite reliable

A lot of reliable used cars are on sale currently. You can check reviews online and find the best option within your budget. If you make a wise decision, a used car is just as dependable as a new one. You can always get a second opinion if you’re unsure about your choice.

It doesn’t depreciate as much

Used cars don’t depreciate as much as new models. Their cost could reduce by $3000-5000, but that’s a tolerable amount. New cars, on the other hand, can lose half of their value within the first two years.

Lower insurance costs

Used cars aren’t as expensive to insure as the new ones. It still depends on the company, but you’ll certainly get a better offer for pre-owned vehicles.

This is why it’s so important to have all the information you can get on hand. Without being in the know, you might make a costly choice and waste a lot of money. We don’t want to do that, do we? Curiosity is crucial when you’re buying a car.

What to look for when buying used cars?

There are a lot of things you should look for when you’re buying a used car. Though it’s important to know how to choose used cars, it’s even more crucial to understand how to double-check the quality of a vehicle.

Let’s see which factors can give us information about the real condition of a used car.

History/service reports and other documents

I can’t iterate enough how important it is to examine the documents related to a used car. Be it a history or service report, you need all the information you can get. Not only will you understand the condition of a vehicle better, but you’ll also find out whether there is something to be suspicious about.

External damage

External damage is probably the most noticeable of all if it’s big enough. But smaller scratches can be a bit harder to discover. You should examine the chassis carefully to find all those flaws. Those might not be a big issue, but they will certainly help you negotiate a better price with the dealer.

Wear and tear of the interior

If the interior is unusually worn out, it might be a good sign that the mileage you see isn’t real. If the chairs, steering wheel, and carpets are extremely damaged and the odometer shows 20,000 miles, then those numbers have probably been altered. There could be certain explanations for such inconsistencies, but it’s always a better idea to double-check everything.


It goes without saying that parts are the most important things you should be looking at. It’s reasonable to check whether they are factory-made or not. You should also look out for rust and damage on the engine or head gasket.

When you understand what to look for when you’re buying a used car, you can easily learn how to look for used cars.

How to choose used cars and avoid scams?

If you want to choose a reliable used car and avoid scams, you should certainly consider the steps we have already discussed. But there are other things you should know if you don’t want to get yourself involved in a fraudulent scheme.

Used cars – what to look for? – here are some extra measures you can take:


Mileage is one of the main factors that you should consider carefully if you want to avoid scams. Odometer fraud is a common practice these days and some of the tools that people use to reduce mileage are really hard to trace. The kilometer stopper, for instance, stops recording the mileage in the whole car so its performance is impossible to detect. Even though it’s meant for testing purposes, people still use it to fulfill their fraudulent goals.

Therefore, you should check the MoT history online if you want to compare the previous mileage with the current one. Luckily, there are a lot of tools online that will help you in that process.

External inconsistencies

It’s not uncommon to see the vehicles that were created by combining two cars that were in the accident. I don’t have to explain why such vehicles could be dangerous. Therefore, you should check the exterior for any inconsistencies.

The panel should have the same width all over the car. There shouldn’t be any spray paint under the hood. So if you notice these signs, you should steer away from such a car.

Hidden accident/other info

Some dealers, mostly private-party sellers might trick you into buying a car that was stolen. Or they might try to conceal previous accident information. It’s important to check VINs to make sure the plate belongs to the car you’re buying. Once again, you can use online tools to double-check the history of the vehicle and find out if it’s been in an accident or not.

Now that you know what to look for when buying used cars, you’ll inspect the vehicle you want to purchase carefully.

How to look for used cars?

There are several ways of looking for a used car. But most importantly, there are certain steps you should take if you want to find a reliable vehicle.

Whether you want to buy a cheap model like a VW Beetle or a luxury one like an Audi A5 or Q7, you need to follow the following checklist to learn how to choose used cars:

Determine your budget

If you want to avoid overspending, determine your budget and search for cars within that range.

Do your research

Go online and read reviews, check available lists, and maybe take a look at dependability scores. That way, you’ll find a vehicle that will last you through a lifetime.

Check the maintenance costs

Once you select a car that you’re interested in, you need to check if that car will be expensive to maintain or not. That will save you a lot of money in the end.

Find a reliable dealer

It’s really important to find a reliable dealer if you want to purchase a long-lasting vehicle. Be it the Jeep Wrangler JK or a mini sedan, you’ll need a seller you can trust. Not only should you know how to look for used cars, but you should already know where to buy them.

Find out the true value of a used car

Before you go to the actual place and start negotiating your price, you should find out the real price of a used car. Once again, you should do your research.

Inspect the vehicle

When you arrive at the store, make sure to inspect the car carefully. Remember all the steps we discussed above and examine every tiny crevice of the vehicle.

Don’t forget the test drive

Even if you know that a used car such as Volvo S40, for example, is reliable, you should still take it for a test drive. When you’re driving the vehicle, you’ll notice those internal problems if they exist.


Used cars – what to look for? – we discovered all the answers above. We learned what to watch out for and which steps to take if we want to find a reliable vehicle. If you consider everything carefully, you’ll certainly discover a model that suits your needs perfectly.

Proper research and examination are the key points you should never forget when you’re buying a used car. Without them, you’ll have a hard time choosing a vehicle that’s dependable, consistent, and long-lasting.

If you aren’t sure what to buy, we are always here to help. And if you don’t trust people online, you can ask an opinion to a friend who has experience with used cars. The main thing is to be certain about your choices and invest in a car that won’t break apart in a week. After all, used cars can be lifesavers if you select them properly. Good luck!