What should I consider before buying a used car?

We offer a Used Vehicle Inspection for $29.88 + tax

(majority of vehicles)

Dear Car Guys...
I am in the market for a used car. How can I make sure I get a peach instead of a lemon?

Tom A. Tovine from Tonawanda

Dear Tom:

Buying fruit and buying cars are pretty much the same thing the look and feel can tell you a lot. As I have spent more time under a hood than in a produce aisle I feel more comfortable telling you about several items you must consider before purchasing a used car.

  • Take a walk around the vehicle, paying close attention to rust, dents, scratches and general paint condition. You must be aware of the age of the car because this will be a key determinant as to how much degradation you should expect to see.

  • Observe the tread on the tires. Uneven wear is an indicator of poor alignment or a suspension problem.

  • Check the fluids in the car. Are they dirty, low or appear generally neglected? Are there any indications of fluid leaks in the driveway or under the vehicle?

  • If you are satisfied so far, take the car for a test drive. Before driving away test all controls and gadgets (ie. power windows and locks, mirror controls, seat adjustments, internal and external lights, air conditioning, etc.). Next, pay attention to the sound of the start and how the engine is running before pulling away. Make certain to drive under different conditions, especially on bumpy roads. An uneven road will encourage the car 'to speak' to you. Problems will exhibit themselves through unusual noises. Also, you might want to let go of the steering wheel to see if the car pulls to the side.

  • Test the brakes by making a few hard stops. Listen and feel for grinding, pulling or locking up.

  • Remember to ask the present owner for the service records. Irregular servicing could mean problems later on.

  • After your done with steps 1 through 6, bring the car to a mechanic you trust and let him/her give the vehicle a complete checkup. This will not cost much and will certainly save you in the long run. Hey, shopping for fruit might be a lot easier, but you still need a dependable car to get you there.

The Car Guys have been repairing poorly serviced used cars for over 20 years. Gerry's Service in Amherst has Technicians certified through ASE (Automotive Service Excellence).

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Gerry's Service
9200 Transit Road
East Amherst, New York 14051
(Behind Carubba Collision)
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