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Webster Used Cars 101: What To Look For When Purchasing

Heather Gribbin

Heather Gribbin

August 13, 2019

Heather loves Land Rovers and spending time in the great outdoors.


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Sometimes, it’s more practical to buy used cars if you have limited funds but find yourself in a situation where commuting is more expensive and taxing physically as well as mentally. There are lots of options on the market today, from Land Rovers and Range Rovers to sedans and compact cars.

It’s become possible to acquire your dream car at a much lower price. You just need to do your research well on the advantages and disadvantages of becoming the second owner of that particular vehicle. You can read up reviews online to check the experiences of customers who bought the same brand and model.

Once you’re in the dealership, you should take a look at these factors or ask a third-party mechanic to check them to ensure you get the best deal:

1. Mileage

One of the most critical tell-tale signs of a car’s condition is its mileage. A lot of people want one that has lower mileage since it implies less wear and tear since the vehicle hasn’t been used a lot. However, if the owner drove the car infrequently, some of its components that are made from plastic and rubber may dry out and end up brittle.

More factors contribute to a car’s life span than mileage, but it does play a significant role in the potential longevity of its parts. Some dealerships include a filter for searches, like on this site for transparency and to set customer expectations on their products, so check the dealership’s website to get more information on your dream vehicle.

2. Vital Parts

Aside from car shopping online, it’s crucial you check the automobile in person so you can view essential parts to ensure usability. Look for signs of deterioration at the exterior, interior, and under the hood. Be diligent about this inspection since you’ll be paying a substantial amount for the vehicle and you don’t want to end up with something that won’t last for a long time.

Here are some of the necessary parts you should go over:

  • Car Body – The exterior may seem like the easiest part to inspect since it’s easily viewed. However, you’ve got to be thorough in looking for scratches, rust, dents, and discoloration since problems at the surface may be signs of more issues beneath.
  • Engine Bay – Examining components under the hood will give you an idea of the car’s history. If you spot fillers and a welded or bolted frame, this could mean the vehicle was previously involved in a front-end collision, which is a red flag.
  • Undercarriage – Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty to assess the car underneath. Look for signs of rust accumulation.
  • Tires – All four tires should match and exhibit consistent wear. Mismatched ones can give you a clue of the previous owner’s poor maintenance while uneven wear may be caused by wrong wheel alignment.
  • Interior – Do a smell check. Used vehicles that have been flooded will have a stench that’s caused by not being dried or appropriately aired. Check for lumps on the seat cushions and tug on the seatbelts to assess the automobile’s condition.
  • Electrical System – Issues in this area are some of the most challenging ones to troubleshoot. It’s better to nip it in the bud to ensure that the used car you’ll be buying won’t pose any problems in this department. Check all the gauges and lights on the instrument panel still work.
  • Fluid Levels – Necessary oils and fluids for the engine, power steering, transmission, and brake should be topped up so you won’t encounter any problems when you drive the car away from the dealership.

3. Legal Documents

According to the US government, you should communicate with the state or local consumer protection office to know your rights before you purchase a used vehicle. You should also ask the state motor vehicle department on the required legal documents you’ll need to register the car under your name.

Additionally, check the car’s vehicle information number (VIN) and use it to look up past owners as well as records on its use and maintenance. Sometimes, the car’s history will include information on whether the automobile was involved in a crash, has been flooded, or if it’s deemed a lemon, which means that it has several manufacturing safety defects.


Buying used cars are a sensible way of escaping the humdrum of commuting without putting a massive hole in your wallet or savings. You just need to do your research well and look into the mileage of the vehicle. Moreover, check out other crucial parts as well like the exterior, interior, undercarriage, engine bay, and tires to make sure you get a functioning car that can last for many years.

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