Buying a pre-owned vehicle is a great way to save money. Knowing the right questions to ask and what to look for, as well as learning how to properly maintain your used car, are the best ways to ensure you don’t run into trouble on the road.
Here are a few things to look for:
1. Are your tires tired?
When purchasing a used vehicle, one of the first things you should check are the tires. Have a certified technician look for uneven tread wear, shallow tread, punctures, and damaged valve caps. If any of these elements are not up to par, tires should be replaced.
2. Change your oil and engine filter
An oil change rejuvenates your engine by lubricating moving parts. Changing your filter prevents dust and dirt from contaminating your engine. Before your purchase, it’s a good idea to ask the previous owner if the recommended service schedule was followed, as overlooking either of these can risk serious damage to the engine, expensive repairs and lackluster performance.
3. Make an inspection mandatory
Some provinces have made it mandatory to have a certified technician inspect any used vehicle before ownership can be transferred. Inspection is the best way to catch anything that may turn into a serious problem down the road. For example, with time, rubber components will wear and hoses need to be checked for hardening, cracks, blistering, softening, or leaking. A certified technician will also inspect your belts for looseness, cracks, frays, or glazing. The same holds true for brakes, as they are one of the most vital control systems in your vehicle.
4. Start fresh
Vehicle fluids are often overlooked but can make a dramatic difference in overall performance. Make sure your brake, coolant, power steering and transmission fluids are at optimum levels. If levels are low, it could mean there’s a leak and a part may need replacement. The golden rule is to always follow the owner’s manual recommendations when it comes time to flushing or replacing any fluids.
And remember, if wiper blades are torn or cracked they won’t perform properly, risking poor visibility in inclement weather. New blades are well worth the investment to keep you and your passengers safe.