What to look at when buying a used car

So you’re buying a used car. Remember, it’s a used car, so chances are it won’t be perfect (and, for the Dollarless Driver, it definitely won’t be).

Leather vs. cloth
While leather seats are certainly nice to have, are they really worth the extra money you’ll end up paying for them? Yes and no. Leather can be more durable than cloth (though it has been known to crack as well) and is looked at as somewhat of a luxury when it comes to your interior. And, though it costs more on the front end, leather seats will help your car or truck’s resale value in the long run. However, the bottom line is that when you’re pinched for pennies, there really isn’t a good reason to spring for leather.

While the salesperson will inevitably try to convince you that the tires on the car you’re looking at are in great shape, remember one thing: some salespeople lie. If you’re skeptical about the tires on a car (or even if you aren’t), keep in mind that replacing them will cost you hundreds of dollars.


What kind?
The most important factor to consider when deciding between an SUV and sedan is what type of activities you’re going to be using your vehicle for. For example, if you will be taking your your vehicle to college or plan on using it for tailgating at football games, perhaps an SUV would best fit your needs. However, if you don’t need as much space or are looking for a more inexpensive (and sometimes nicer) option, a sedan may better suit you. And if work in a field such as landscape or construction, a pickup truck may be your best bet. A car, truck, or SUV is a major investment, and the most important thing is finding what will best fit the needs that you have and the activities you’re going to be doing.

Fuel economy
For the Dollarless Driver, this is one of the most critical components to consider when purchasing a car or truck. With gas prices constantly increasing, the last thing you need is more money coming out of your pocket and into your gas tank, so be aware that which vehicle you choose can have a major impact on this. For example, while the SUV you may be looking at is a little nicer than the sedan, chances are the SUV has a much, much lower fuel economy. Will the money you’ll be spending on gas be worth it if you get the SUV? That’s your decision, but fuel economy should absolutely factor into the decision.

Accident history
It has become standard for used car dealerships to provide a CARFAX to customers, but reviewing it carefully is an absolute must. Take notice of when and where the car was serviced as well as if it was serviced for anything specific. Ask questions if you see a certain area of the car that was serviced more than once, and don’t be satisfied by just knowing that the car has not been in any accidents.

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