Skip to comments.Used car buying tips
Posted on 07/10/2011 10:03:54 AM PDT by CGASMIA68
Never purchased a used car. Looking at an 07 accord exl, 57000 for 12000 private owner at a garage Price looks in line with vehicle. I know about car fax and will pay to have a Honda dealer look at it but before I get that far; How can a novice tell if the engine is the original and what else should I keep an eye out for? Thanks in advance
Pay a mechanic you trust to evaluate it! Best money you’ll ever spend.
Also, vehicles have records of reliability. Look up the year and specific model on the ‘net.
At 57K miles the engine is almost certainly original. Check to see if the owner has done regular oil changes. If there is an oil change sticker on the windshield compare the information on it to the current date and mileage.
Look under the hood and check for paint overspray. Also look to see if all the original stickers are in place under the hood - if you don’t see the stickers it is a good indication that the vehicle has been wrecked and repainted. Look to see if the paint on the hood and fenders matches the rest of the body - slight variations can mean a paint job and that usually means the car has been wrecked
Make sure the title is good - a reconditioned or salvage title indicates the vehicle has been totaled in a wreck and rebuilt. It is always best to stay away from those cars.
If all that looks good and your mechanic checks it out it should be OK - good luck
Car Fax is next to useless. If you don’t believe me check their own warranty. A trusted mechanic is the gold standard for used car buying.
That's a great start.
Look for fluids that are "too clean". Not always a bad thing, but sometimes you may want to look a bit more at the vehicle. Look at the oil dipstick. See if it has a varnishing down at the end. This can indicate that the vehicle ran very hot at some point. When test driving, don't simply go around the block. May sure that the temperature gauge rises to operating temperature.
I was looking at a car with my brother, and after letting it cool off, removed the cap, and the anti-freeze was white. Indicative of cylinder head gasket failure or cracked engine block. Oil and water mixed, creating an emulsion. Check the tailpipe as it is running. Say goodbye if you see thick white smoke. Same with thick, bluish smoke. That's oil. A little blackish, gray smoke can simply mean that it needs a tune up.
Have a friend watch your tailpipe as you drive by. If he/ she observes a surge of bluish, black smoke, valve guides are probably worn.$$$$
Just because a fender has a slight variation in color doesn’t mean the car has been in a major accident.
I would guess probably 80% of cars have had some sort of body repair in their lifetime.
Why do you want to pay that much for a 4 year old with 57k
A quick search of all sedans on auto trader and I found 2010s with 25 to 35 on them for that much.
I can get you a Friends and Neighbors discount for a Ford product. All I need is name, address and the last four digits of your social. Get you a pin number you take to your dealer. Might be as good a price as buying a used car.
(1) Why is the owner selling it? Listen for the story, half the read is in the telling, half in what the story is.
(2) Was the owner a smoker? Bad if so. Smokers tend to abuse cars.
(3) As everyone else said, have a trusted mechanic check it out.
(4) If you don’t have a trusted mechanic use a reliable chain shop, e.g. Pep Boys.
(5) You want a mechanic who knows that model and year, and who is able to identify body work.
You found Hondas or Toyotas, or what?
whats your zip....I plug in zips around the country and they all vary the $$$$$$
If you have time and know a mechanic you trust, just tell them what you are looking for. They often have people bring in their cars for a check-over just before they sell it. If they know what you are interested in, they can act as a buying service.
When you find the right vehicle, religiously change the oil. Many people put this off, don’t. I own a Grand Am with 150,000 miles, and it doesn’t use a drop of oil. They are known for being unreliable. Runs like a top. I would trust it going cross country.
“Car Fax is next to useless.”
Something tells me to avoid this guy...
What? You don’t want to drive down the street sideways?
Smokers tend to abuse cars ??????????? WTF
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