What To Know Before You Buy a New or Used Car

Should you buy a new car or used car? While buying a used vehicle will save you money in purchase price and help you avoid depreciation costs, it is important to do your research before you purchase one. To avoid purchasing a car with hidden problems, consider the following buying precautions:

buying a new car

Buying Used Vehicles

  • Excessive wear and tear in the interior, regardless of what the odometer says, is a clue that the car has seen some miles.
  • Damp, musty odors are indications of leaks in the windshield, weather stripping or heater core.
  • Cars that ride lower in the front as compared to the back indicate worn springs.
  • Vehicles that bounce when pushed on indicate worn shocks and struts.
  • Tires with worn outer edges from the front end represent the need for an alignment.
  • Clanking noises when the vehicle is in gear point towards a problem with the drive shaft universal joints.
  • Repainted body panels.
  • Motor oil that is not full indicates that the engine may be leaking or burning oil.
  • Knocking and ticking sounds that increase as the engine speed increases represent major problems and costly repairs.
  • Transmission fluid that is black or brown may indicate internal damage.
  • Banging, grinding or squeaking noises indicate a damaged or broken transmission mount.

Is the Mileage Right?

Do not be fooled by the mileage on the odometer! To see if the instruments have been tampered with, look for fingerprints or scratches inside the plastic covering. Mile numbers that don’t line up properly on the odometer offer another fraud clue. This may be a crude attempt at getting you to buy a vehicle that has far more miles (and problems) than what the low mileage would suggest. There are many factors when you buy a new or used car.

Avoid Buying Flood Damaged Cars

In the wake of major natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, the used car market is often inundated with flood-damaged cars and trucks, many of which are cleaned and transported to other parts of the country to be sold to unsuspecting consumers.

What To Look For:

The vehicle may look like it is in good condition from the outside, but moisture inside can have devastating effects that can lead to problems with:

  • Electronics, such as engine controls or brake signals
  • Dashboard rotting
  • Airbags and safety sensors
  • Interior upholstery, carpeting and roof

To lessen your risk of buying a flood-damaged vehicle, take these buying guidelines into account:

  • Check the title history of the vehicle.
  • Inspect the wiring system.
  • Inspect the interior and engine compartment for any evidence of water.
  • Be wary of a vehicle that was recently shampooed.
  • Look for water residue or stains from evaporated water under the floorboard carpet.
  • Look for rust on the inside of the vehicle and under the carpeting. Inspect the upholstery for fading.
  • Look out for musty smells in the inside of the vehicle and in the trunk.
  • Check for rust on screws in the console area where water would not normally reach.

Unlike the purchase of a new vehicle, most states’ lemon laws do not apply for purchases of used vehicles. In addition, many states do not require a grace period on used purchases as well. Therefore, you must thoroughly inspect a used car or truck before deciding to hand over your money and sign on the dotted line.

buy a new car

Should I Buy The Extended Warranty When I Buy My New or Used Car?

Consider the following before purchasing a vehicle service contract:

  • Is the contract easy to comprehend? Read the contract before purchasing and make sure that you fully understand the scope of the coverage.
  • Are the coverage terms and limits applicable to your situation?
    • Do the term and mileage restrictions coincide with how long you plan to own the vehicle?
    • Are you comfortable with the deductible?
    • Can you cancel the contract if you sell the vehicle or want to terminate it? If so, what penalties and refunds are applicable?
  • Which company is providing coverage? Consider providers that deal with reputable insurance companies who are licensed with an “Excellent” rating from A.M. Best Co. (rating agency for the insurance industry). Visit www.ambest.com for more information.
  • What is the process for receiving coverage benefits? Reputable companies will make the repair process simple for their consumers.
    • Are there restrictions on where repairs can take place?
    • How are claims paid?

Before making an extended warranty purchase, make sure you are fully comfortable with the provider. They should be nationally recognized and have demonstrated a firm commitment to their customers for many years.

Also, do not get duped by a low price. If it seems too low for the amount of coverage that you will be receiving, the contract is probably too good to be true!

buy a car

What To Look For In A Safe Vehicle

Whether you want to buy a new or used car, safety is a big concern. Every new car must meet certain federal safety standards, but that doesn’t mean that all cars are equally safe. Many automakers offer safety features beyond the required federal minimums. Find out more about what safety features should be considered when you buy a new or used car.

Consider the following safety features:

  1. Crashworthiness: These features reduce the risk of death or serious injury when a crash occurs. Crashworthiness ratings can be found at: www.iihs.org.
  2. Vehicle structural design: A good structural design has a strong occupant compartment, known as the safety cage, as well as front and rear ends designed to buckle and bend in a crash to absorb the force of the crash.
  3. Vehicle size and weight: The laws of physics dictate that larger and heavier cars are safer than lighter and smaller ones.
  4. Anti-lock brakes: Anti-lock brakes pump brakes automatically many times a second to prevent lockup and allow you to keep control of the car.
  5. Daytime running lights: These lights automatically turn on with your car. By increasing the contrast between a vehicle and its backgrounds and making the vehicles more visible to oncoming drivers, these lights can prevent daytime accidents.
  6. On-the-road experience: Other design characteristics can influence injury risk on the road. Some SUVs are prone to rolling over. “High performance” cars typically have higher-than-average death rates because drivers are tempted to use excessive speed.

Safety First

Belts, airbags and head restraints all work together with a vehicle’s structure to protect people in serious crashes. Lap/shoulder belts hold you in place, reducing the chance you’ll slam into something hard or get ejected from the crashing vehicle. If you aren’t belted, you’ll continue moving forward until something suddenly stops you – often a hard interior surface that will cause injuries. Consider the vehicle’s safety belt, airbag and head restraint features when shopping with safety in mind.

GDI Insurance Agency, Inc.

California’s Leader in Insurance and Risk Management

As one of the fastest growing agencies in California, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. is able to provide its clients with the latest and greatest of what the insurance industry has to offer and much, much more. We understand when you buy a new or used car there are many insurance questions. Feel free to contact us 209-634-2929 when it comes to your auto insurance and costs.

We are headquartered in Turlock, CA, with locations across the heart of California’s Central Valley, Northern California and beyond to provide a local feel to the solutions and services we provide our clients. We pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations in every interaction to make sure that our client’s know how much we value and appreciate their business. Contact us today 1-209-634-2929 for your comprehensive auto insurance quote!

What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.