So you’re in the market for a good reliable used car. Well I have some tips to help you choose the right car. Nowadays cars are built much better and more durable than cars of the late 80s and early 90s so don’t be afraid of a car with over 100k miles if your looking to buy a cheaper used car say under $5k.
Used cars under $5k: The safest and most reliable vehicles in that price range based on what I see daily as a Proffesional auto technician are Honda, Toyota, and Subaru. You can’t go wrong with any model from any of those manufacturers with the exception of some older Honda models that had transmission issues. Only other exception would be cars that have been terribly neglected and i will show you how to identify those cars.
- Most of the time you can tell how well a car is cared for at first glance without even opening the hood or looking at the odometer by just looking at the tires. Why? Well a full set of quality name brand tires are not cheap. Sure you can get by with some cheap off brand tires and good tires is not always the perfect indicator of how well the owner takes care of there vehicle, but it is the best starting point. From what I see on the regular basis is that customers with brand name expensive tires tend to take better care of their car. They almost always go for the recommended services and repairs that there vehicle needs. So always start with the tires. Make sure the tires are all the same brand and they are all worn evenly. This can tell you everything you need to know about the car owner.
- I know this will sound terrible but it’s mostly true: don’t buy cars from private seller’s that live in low income neighborhood’s. Simply because car Repairs are very expensive and most of the time cars from low income neighborhoods are very much neglected.
- This should have been number 2 but whatever. Don’t buy a car that has 4 different brand tires on it and all worn differently.
- Get a pre purchase inspection done. It’s worth the 40-50 dollars that most shop charge. Some shops will even do it for free if your a regular customer.
- Check the oil change due sticker against the milage on the odometer. Call the shop on the sticker and ask them about the car. Most shops keep a record of repairs and declined repairs.
With that said. You should be much better off now shopping for a good used car. Good luck and don’t be afraid of high milage cars especially from the right seller. Avoid super low mileage old cars (example 1998 anything with 20k miles).. They are money pits they sit and rust, unless truly garage kept.