Buying a Secondhand Car? Here’s What You Need to Know

In 2022, the US market for secondhand cars is worth over $160.4 billion. This boom in demand is no surprise, given the global semiconductor shortage and rising inflation driving up costs for car insurance. CNBC reports increased rates of insurance by an average of 8.3%, which means that car owners will be paying higher premiums for the same coverage. This additional expense is deterring several million people across the US from buying brand new cars.

Thankfully, there are many great deals on secondhand cars in the market. These are just as capable of offering the same convenience and prestige as a new one — as long as you know how to care for them properly. Keep reading to know more about the delicate maintenance that many secondhand cars require.

Replacing the tires

Tires tend to have hidden internal damage even if they may look new. It’s important to determine their present condition with the help of a professional who can help count their tread life and also check for uneven wear.

It’s best to invest in purchasing brand-new quality tires to avoid compromising handling and braking performance. Afterward, performing routine maintenance on your tires — from aligning, rotating, and balancing as well as keeping the optimal tire pressure — will help prolong their lives, and your car’s.

Applying for insurance

It’s natural that cars will eventually break down. The likelihood is faster for secondhand cars. In these cases, auto repair insurance may seem like an inviting proposition. However, a post on auto repair insurance published by Sound Dollar suggests it is only available for new cars. That is because insurance is meant to cover incidents of low probability but devastating financial consequences. Older cars have already experienced wear and tear, and are thus seen as higher risk by insurance companies.

However, a secondhand car can still be eligible for some types of coverage. As we’ve previously discussed on Gainsurance, car repairs are costly, more so in times of inflation. Car owners who were able to save up on expenses by purchasing a secondhand car may still want to secure collision coverage in case of accidents, or comprehensive coverage in cases of theft or vandalism.

Availability of warranty

Besides insurance, a warranty is another great financial plan. This can cover the repairs of major vehicle components on a secondhand vehicle.

Only certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles automatically come with a warranty, however, and not all of the paperwork may be available to check otherwise. The good news according to Forbes is that warranty can still be determined by finding a car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) by the windshield and noting the number on the odometer. Afterward, your local dealer can help check on your warranty status and advise accordingly.

Regular maintenance

Even the best secondhand cars have wear and tear. To avoid aggravating these and to make sure that you maximize the lifespan of your vehicle, setting aside a maintenance budget is critical. This can mean frequent but minimal expenses, such as keeping the tire pressure at its best and regularly changing engine oils.

It’s also best to refill the fuel in your vehicle as soon as needed, because reserved fuel tends to contain sediments that can contaminate the engine of your vehicle. Of course, take note of the rising cost of gas as reported by The Guardian. Purchasing a secondhand vehicle is often only the beginning, and owning and operating it could get more expensive as the oil price rises.

Make sure to do your research to determine whether a secondhand car is the right one for your budget and lifestyle. With forecasts on the chip shortage and the global market over the next few months, we can count on continuous growth in the market for secondhand cars.