There is a risk associated with purchasing a used car. On one side, you have an opportunity to save money and get a car full of cool features which may have been out of your budget brand new. A lot of previously owned vehicles can be a great investment, but sometimes you may find the car has unexpected issues and behind the perfect interior lie unforeseen mechanical issues.
Depending on the age and condition of the car, you should expect any number of problems related to its critical parts. When you buy the car, it is vital to be aware of all common issues that can arise with different parts of a vehicle and which of them are the most vulnerable. So, here’s a list of car parts that may cause the costliest challenges:
- The condition of the engine is obviously crucial, it’s the heart of every vehicle and half of its cost, respectively. Not all engine problems are serious and can be remedied relatively quickly, but all of them may cause its breakdown with the worst-case scenario: the necessity to replace the engine.
- The gearbox is one of the most common sources of major problems after the engine. Transmissions experience considerable wear and tear over time. With a manual transmission, you can run into even more challenges, depending on the driving style of the previous owner, as compared to automatic. Also, most cars will require a clutch replacement at some point.
- The battery also can be a source of numerous problems. You should avoid cars that may have some electrical issues because lots of modern cars have sophisticated electrical systems and it can be pretty problematic to find a qualified mechanic who would be able to fix it for an affordable price.
- The brakes are another area that requires attention. Used vehicles tend to come with worn brake pads that may require replacing in the near future. This type of replacement will require professional service
- Since most older vehicles were made of steel, it is quite common to find used cars and motorcycles with a lot of surface rust and faded paint. More problematic rust can occur under the body panels themselves. If the hood, doors, trunk, roof, or other body panels have any major holes, they will require replacing or patching.
- Vehicles that used to be rental are often cheaper, but the point is that usually most of them have not been maintained regularly and have a long history of accidents. Some of their parts could have been replaced or repaired several times and that may contribute to a bunch of unpredictable problems.
To avoid a bad experience, you should get as much information about the vehicle as possible. Always check the complaints for the specific model year on the NHTSA website to get a better idea of common issues related to the specific year, make, and model. Review vehicle inspection and repair records. Monroney label or window sticker by VIN will help you to retrieve accurate car characteristics, features, and additionally installed equipment.
Finally, before taking the plunge with a used car, run a ClearVin vehicle history report or take advantage of a license plate lookup to get a full description of the vehicle’s condition to be aware of all potential issues. A vehicle history report for dealers will show all previous accident claims, odometer events, if the car was used as a rental, and much more. Know what to expect ahead of time to give yourself the best chance of a happy ending.