What To Look For In a Used Car

Nowadays, used cars are more reliable than ever – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fully examine a pre-owned vehicle before buying. Drive Auto has some helpful tips on what you should look for when you’re shopping for a used car near Madison.

Take a Test Drive

A test drive can tell you a lot about a car – far more than any TV ad, magazine review, or YouTube video. Once you’ve established a budget, identified your needs, and narrowed down your choices, visit our used car dealership and get behind the wheel. Take a car out onto local roads and on the highway and see how it handles, accelerates, and brakes. Listen to the engine and confirm it sounds good. Check out the car’s stereo system, climate system, and infotainment amenities and make sure they’re in good working order. Of course, with a test drive you can also confirm whether the vehicle has the right amount of passenger and cargo space.

Get a Vehicle History Report

A vehicle history report, such as the kind provided by CARFAX, offers invaluable information about a used car’s ownership record. Review this report and familiarize yourself with the car’s service history, and see whether the vehicle has ever been the subject of any title problems. A vehicle history report also identifies any accidents the car has been in, whether major or a simple fender-bender.

Do a Leak Test

Drive Auto stands behind all of its pre-owned cars in Wisconsin, but we also value your peace of mind. One way to put yourself at ease is to do a leak test. Drive the car to a clean area, park, and let the engine run for 30 – 60 seconds. Then back the car up and inspect the previous spot for leaking liquids. A pink fluid might indicate a transmission line link, while green could be related to anti-freeze. An oil leak would show up black.

Thoroughly Inspect The Car Inside and Out

It goes without saying that all used cars have experienced wear and tear, depending on their age/mileage. Our local used car dealers take great pride in keeping our inventory in pristine condition, but you should still thoroughly inspect a car inside and out. Check the body and fenders for dings, dents, scrapes, and rust. Make sure all the lights are working. Pop the hood and inspect the engine for excessive dirt and grime, and make sure every belt and hose is where it should be (our service team can help you out with this). Then climb inside the car and look over the upholstery. Make sure everything is to your liking: smooth surfaces, clean console, all electronics working.

Read Professional Reviews Concerning The Make and Model

The internet is a terrific resource for professional automotive reviews. Companies like Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, Cars.com, and MotorTrend all offer valuable insights and consumer reviews. This isn’t to say you can’t love a car that someone else doesn’t like. But researching consumer and professional opinions about a used car before buying it is yet another way to reassure yourself that you’re making a smart purchase.

Schedule a Test Drive

Buying a car can be stressful, but the friendly, experienced Drive Auto team will put you at ease the moment you walk in our door. We’ll help you find the right used car for the right price, and help you maintain it for years to come.