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How to Avoid a Costly Mistake When Buying an Older Car

A friend just called me to tell me that his new car had broken down and left him stranded out in the middle of nowhere. Actually, when I say new car I mean that it is new to him. The best way to describe it is as a vintage vehicle that has been around the block more than a few times. So how can you avoid a mistake when buying an older car like this?

Get It Checked Out

If you are fairly good at checking out mechanical problems you might be happy looking over any new vehicle you buy. However, when it comes to an older vehicle you will be better getting a mechanic to look it over. There are lots of different things that could go wrong in an older car and you will want to check this out fully before you go ahead and buy one. Even if you aren’t paying an awful lot for the vehicle, the cost of repairing it and paying for it to be towed home or whatever can be a massive problem if it isn’t roadworthy.  Above all, don’t be fooled by a fresh coat of paint and other nice touches. These can count for very little if the engine or other vital parts aren’t in good condition. An experienced mechanic should know right away what parts to check and where to find potential problems.

Take It for a Spin

When you are buying a brand new car taking it for a test drive is a nice idea but it doesn’t usually tell you very much that you didn’t already know. When you are a buying an old car, on the other hand, it is a vital part of the selection process. You should avoid the common mistake of turning up the radio too loud to talking to the seller for the whole time you are driving. You should also insist that you get behind the wheel instead of them. You should then listen carefully to any noises it makes and pay attention to how it handles. Try and take it on as varied a test drive as you can, to see how it handles roundabouts, hills and anything else you come across. If it stands up well to this test drive then that doesn’t mean that it is in perfect condition but it should give you a good feeling about it.

Check the Insurance Cost

Just because you are buying an older car doesn’t automatically mean that the insurance is going to be dirt cheap as well. There are a number of factors for taking into account when calculating a car insurance premium and you can only get an accurate figure by taking a few moments to get an online quote.  Even if you are only looking to get covered for the damage you might cause to third parties you will want to find out how much it is going to cost you before committing to the purchase.

See How Well It Has Been Looked After

Once they get to a certain age the care and attention that has been given to cars starts to show. If you are buying a vehicle that has been around for a few years then you should pay special attention to how well it has been looked after. You could start by asking the current owner if they have kept the receipts for servicing, oil changes and anything else they have had done to it. The way it looks should also give you a fair idea as to how well it has been treated in the last few years.

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