7 Things To Look For In A Quality Used Vehicle


Shopping at Lexington, KY car lots is one of the best ways to find a quality vehicle at a great price. You can either find a modest vehicle that helps you save a lot of money and keep your budget low, or you can use the savings you get from buying used to afford a higher-caliber vehicle, such as a luxury model.

Going to used car dealerships also opens up your options, giving you a much wider diversity of models from which to choose. You aren’t limited to the models from one brand from the current year and perhaps the previous year. Instead, you can find dozens of models from many different brands going back a decade or more. You may even be able to find collectible or special edition vehicles at some used car dealers.

Not all used cars are diamonds in the rough, however. You need to know what you’re looking for to get a great car at a great value. Here are seven things you should look for in a quality used vehicle:

Clean Fluids

You should always take a look under the hood when you are shopping for a used vehicle, even if you are shopping at a reputable dealership that promises a thorough inspection before the car goes to sale. One of the most important things you should do is to check the fluids, including the oil, steering fluid, brake fluid and transmission fluid.

These fluids should all have a light, pure color without signs of black or brown sludge. For example, transmission fluid should be a light red. If the fluids are black or brown, they could be old or contaminated from other leaks.

Also check for signs of leaks while you are under the hood. You might see actual fluid, or you might see black spots on the engine. During the test drive, park the car over a clean part of the pavement and look for leaks.

Healthy Engine

Even if you aren’t a mechanic, you can tell a lot about the shape of the engine on closer inspection. Look under the hood for any signs of rust, and look at the belts for any signs that they are drying out or cracked. Hoses should be soft, not hard, and they should not have any signs of cracks either.

Take a test drive and make sure everything is working the way it should. Make sure the car handles well, takes turns with ease, and brakes without having to pump the pedals. Take note of how you feel when you are driving, as well. Even if the car handles well in general, it may not suit your personal style.

Low Overall Mileage

Mileage is not a clear-cut measure of the health of a car. Even a car with low miles can have other problems. However, you can be reasonably certain that a five-year-old car that already has 100,000 miles on it will have a lot of problems and will not last you for very much longer.

Evaluate the mileage in relation to the age of the car. Calculate the average number of miles per year, and determine if that’s over or under the average. The lower the relative mileage, the longer you can typically expect the car to last.

Intact Safety Features

Safety features are some of the most important characteristics of a car. While you can’t figure out if the air bag is working without triggering the “you broke it, you bought it” rule, you can double check the functionality of safety features such as the back-up camera, the forward collision alert, or the traction stability control.

These things should all be working, or they should be repaired before you buy. If they aren’t, you should use them as leverage to negotiate a lower price.

Excellent Interior and Exterior

Check the entire body for signs of damage, such as rust, dents, scratches and poorly done repair work. Look down the side of the body from the headlights — you should see clean, even lines. Any waves or bumps indicate damage or a botched repair.

The tires should match, and the tread should be evenly worn on all of them. Any feathering on the tires could be signs of pool alignment, which itself can be caused by bad suspension or frame damage, among other things.

Inside, the upholstery should be clean and free of damage such as tears or holes. Check for stains and unpleasant odors, as well.

Clean Vehicle History Report

You can run a vehicle history report yourself using the vehicle identification number. The report will show you the ownership history, any accidents that the car has been involved in, the tax history and more.

This is valuable information that will help you assess the health of the car. Of course, it will also let you know if the car has been in any major accidents, which is a huge red flag not to buy it.

Of course, shopping at a reputable dealership is one of the best ways to find a quality used car. Dan Cummins Chevrolet Buick has a reputation for selling some of the best used cars in Lexington, KY at some of the best prices. We offer a large selection of new and used vehicles from a wide variety of brands and model years.

You can find the car of your dreams while also saving a lot of money. Visit us today to take a test drive of your next car.