There are some benefits to buying a used car. Of course, the big one is that it will be cheaper than buying a new car. You might be able to buy a used car with cash, avoiding having a monthly payment.
At the same time, you have to make sure you’re buying a safe car.
Some types of used cars may be riskier than others. Certain features or lack thereof can contribute to an increased risk of being in an accident.
If you’re buying a used car for a new teen driver, this can be an even bigger concern.
The following are things to keep in mind when it comes to buying a used car that’s safe and reliable.
General steps to keep in mind when buying a used car include:
According to the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System, some cars may be more dangerous than others when assessing how often they’re involved in accidents.
Contributing factors to how safe or unsafe a vehicle might include size and weight and overall safety features.
Some of the most dangerous cars are:
When you go to initially look at a car, first inspect it yourself. Know what red flags to look for right away.
For example, maybe you see parts that don’t seem to fit quite right, unevenly worn tires or perhaps signs of flood damage like rust in strange places or a musty smell.
If you see anything that seems problematic just by looking at a car yourself, it’s probably best not to buy it.
Then, once you inspect it yourself, you should always take a car to be inspected by a reliable and experienced mechanic before agreeing to buy it. Only once the car has checked out, in the mechanic’s opinion, should you ask to test drive it.
Lemon laws are worth noting in a discussion about buying a safe used car.
Lemon laws tend to apply primarily to new cars, but in some cases, this can be relevant to used cars as well.
Around 1% of all new cars in the U.S. have unfixable problems. Every state has some type of lemon law to protect consumers who buy a defective car.
If you buy a used car, to qualify for lemon laws in most states, the defect must be covered by the warranty. In some cases, the defect must occur within a certain number of miles.
Again, as long as a used car was sold with a written warranty, lemon laws apply. Many times used cars are still sold while they have a manufacturer or dealer warranty.
If a car meets lemon law requirements in your state, you may have the right to a replacement car or a refund. The process of going about this is different in every state.
If you’re buying a used car that’s significantly older, even with major problems, lemon laws are unlikely to apply.
When you’re buying a used car, take your time, and do your research. Yes, you want a good deal, but safety needs to be a priority as well. If a deal seems too good to be true, there’s a very high likelihood that it is.