A good used car should be in a good condition, relatively cheap to buy, and inexpensive to maintain. Most people concentrate on the first two factors without giving much thought to the last one. If you do that, however, you can end up buying a car that will cost you an arm and a leg to maintain. Here are two important factors you should research to ensure that doesn't happen to you:
The Car's Mileage and Age
Most car parts are designed to be replaced or serviced at particular mileages. For example, the replacement interval for a timing belt ranges from 60,000 miles to 105,000 miles; the exact mileage depends on the make and model. Therefore, if you are buying a car that has a timing belt that needs to be replaced at 90,000 miles and it has already crossed the 80,000-mile mark, don't ignore the cost of replacing the belt.
According to some car authorities, a typical car has these three major mileage milestones in its life:
- 30,000 to 40,000 miles – This is where most factory warranties expire, and the car requires its first major service. Things like brakes and tires have probably worn out and need to be replaced.
- 60,000-70,000 miles – The second major service comes at around this point, and it is more expensive than the first. The timing belt may need to be replaced at this point.
- 100,000 miles – By this time the car's paint is showing its age, the interior requires major service and the normal major service may also need to be done.
Therefore, if you are buying a car, have these milestones in mind, so you know the costs to expect after purchase.
Apart from mileage, age is one of the factors that determine the car's condition. Even if a car hasn't been driven much, it will show signs of wear and material breakdown after some time. There is no universal age at which cars "expire." However, all factors constant, the older the car, the more you should expect to use for its repair and maintenance.
Service and Accident History
You also need to scrutinize the car's service history to know how well its previous owner maintained it. There are various ways of finding a car's service history without tracking down its previous owners. For example, some car manufacturers have centralized records from which you can get their cars' service histories. You can also use the vehicle identification number (VIN), unusually located in the door frame or engine compartment to learn more about the car's service history. Supply the manufacturer with the VIN and they will tell you the dealer who sold the car first; contact the dealer to see if they have its service history. Contact used car dealerships in Shakopee MN for more information.