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July 23, 2015

Signs of a Good Used Car

Many people believe that a used car will bring them nothing but trouble and expense. Thus, they tend to always purchase a new car.

But used cars can be in as good shape as a new car – they really can be “like new.”

Read below for tips on how to tell if a used car is a good one.

  • Before hunting for a used car, do some research to find out what brands and year models tend to do after being on the road a few years. Knowledge gleaned from Consumer Reports and can help you identify winners and losers.
  • Take a look at the database of recalls, safety investigations and service bulletins gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at gov. It’s here that you will be able to see information about different types of cars, any recalls against them and service bulletins manufacturers send to car dealerships to warn them about potential problems with a make/model of car.
  • You also should insist that any car dealership provide you with a vehicle’s sales and accident history to check for accidents, fires, floods, etc. This document also will give you’re the car’s repair history. If the dealership refuses to supply you with this history, consider leaving. But if you love the car, you can get this info at sites such as com and others.
  • Check the vehicle’s “buyer’s guide.” This one-page sheet of paper should be attached to one of the car’s windows. This document lets you know if the dealer is providing any kind of warranty on the car, of if it’s selling the car “as is.” Be very careful of purchasing an “as is” car, as you will have little or no recourse if problems arise with the car soon after you purchase it. In fact, many cars with problems are sold “as is.” If you buy this car, at least see if you can get some kind of written guarantee from the dealer. Even a 30-day guarantee is better than no guarantee.
  • Write down the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) and ask the dealer or private party seller where the car is serviced. Then head to the mechanic and ask for a rundown of the maintenance and repairs performed on the car.
  • Take the car to your own mechanic for an inspection. Your mechanic will check for
    • Fluid leaks
    • Low fluid levels
    • Fluid color that is “off”
    • Metal particles in the oil (could indicate that the oil is old)
    • Oil that’s light brown, has something of a “frothy” residue or smells burned: this could mean there’s a problem with the car’s head gasket or engine.
    • Burned or reddish transmission fluid
    • Smoke that pours from the car’s tailpipe when the engine is turned on also is truble.
    • Blue smoke could mean the car burns oil excessively.
    • Tires with wear on their outside edges could mean fast cornering.

Most importantly, take your time. Never fall in love with a particular car. Don’t be swayed by a salesperson who say you’ve only a few hours before this car will be snatched up by someone else (even if it is, you’ll find another car).

In the market for a good and reliable used car in the greater Dallas region? Then visit a  PAACO location near you.  You also may contact us by calling 877-810-4555.

Image courtesy Ambro/

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