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Do You Really Need Your Mechanic to Look at a Used Car for Sale?

Minimizing the risks of used car purchase without breaking the bank

One of the few benefits of purchasing a new car over a used car is you’re always covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. But this comes at a great expense. A new car will lose an average of 60% of its value in its first five years. So, it virtually always pays to buy a used car over a new car, but as the car isn’t necessarily still under warranty, there can be a fear that you’ll pay a large sum of money for a car that actually needs some serious repair.

Often, it is advised to get a used car you plan to purchase looked over by a mechanic. We largely agree with this advice, particularly if you know very little about automotive maintenance yourself. But it’s not always required. 

One surefire way to avoid purchasing a lemon is to make sure you shop at a reputable used car dealership, like Auto Bank KC. Here at Auto Bank, we inspect all our vehicles before they go on the lots for purchase, and we only sell the best used cars in Kansas City

However, we also understand that you may want to shop around to make sure you’re finding the best deal with us. In that case, there are a few considerations you need to keep in mind when browsing.


Factors that affect the risk involved in purchasing a used car

First, the age of a used car is an important factor in whether you need to bring in a mechanic to check it out. If you’re buying a car that is just one or two years old, for example, it’s very unlikely something has gone mechanically wrong during this period. You should check for accident damage and walk away if anything seems fishy. But as the car will still be under manufacturer warranty, this will cover most any other mechanical issue that may have arisen.

Secondly, if you have a reasonable amount of car maintenance knowledge yourself, there’s no need for yet another opinion. Almost all significant issues that can go wrong with a vehicle are readily apparent to a seasoned motorist once you take a look under the hood and take the vehicle for a test drive. Conversely, if this is your first car, you should probably take along someone well versed in mechanics with you.


Things to check on your used car vehicle purchase

If you’re foregoing a mechanic, here’s a list of things to check on any used car so you can get a good overview of the vehicle:

  • Check for leaks from the engine

  • Ensure the battery has no corrosion

  • Check for strange odors from the running engine

  • Make sure the oil filler neck doesn’t have any black tar

  • The oil stick should be free of dark, black oil

  • Emissions from the exhaust pipe should be clear

  • When bouncing the suspension, there should be no creaks

  • The car should sit level when rested

  • Check that transmission fluid is clean

  • Test drive the transmission and ensure no gears slip

  • There should be no grinding noises when changing gears

  • Check for potential signs of accident damage

  • Test the brakes and parking brake

  • Ensure the car doesn’t drift to one side or shake when driving

If you come across any issues with the above, it’s time to get a qualified professional to check out the vehicle.


Purchasing private or from a used car dealership

Thirdly, where you are buying the vehicle from plays a huge factor. Private purchases, while often the best source of bargains, give you the least amount of cover from mechanical problems. As they say, buyer beware.

A used car dealership that outsources financing to a bank or other lender is a better option, as they will have performed their own checks on the vehicle. They may also offer a limited warranty on the used car. But an even better option is a buy here pay here dealership that handles financing themselves.


Buy here pay here dealerships

Purchasing from a buy here pay here dealership, like Auto Bank, is a safer option, as the dealership will have already performed a multi-point inspection on the vehicle before they bought it themselves. A buy here pay here car lot needs to only sell vehicles that will last. Because customers get financing directly from the dealership, they will be in contact with the dealership on an ongoing basis. 

Where your business relationship with a traditional dealership ends when you buy the car and drive away from the lot, a buy here pay dealership offers a long-term service. It pays for them to ensure all vehicles on sale are in great shape or customers won’t be able to repay their loans.

Buy here pay here dealerships also need to keep their reputation or risk losing business. A few negative reviews on a dealership can be enough to turn customers away, so it always makes sense for a buy here pay here dealership to sell vehicles in good shape that have clear maintenance histories.


The Best Used Cars in Kansas City at Auto Bank KC

As we said before, here at Auto Bank, we make sure every used car that drives onto our lot is in tip-top shape before it ever gets sold to a customer. Our expert mechanics put each vehicle through a multi-point inspection to ensure maximum functionality and driveability. Plus, our in-house team of car financing experts can help you get the deal done on the spot, no middle man required.

Get into a new-to-you car today at one of our two KC area used car lots. We’ll be ready and waiting to help you find the perfect car for you!