There’s sound “math” buying a pre-owned car. New cars will depreciate financially much faster than they do mechanically. For example, a 3-4-year-old car may cost 40% less than when it was new but still may have 80% of its life ahead of it.
More and more people are buying pre-owned vehicles and letting the first owner “take the depreciation”.
But just like buying any used car, there are risks involved. You have to know what you’re getting into, both financially and mechanically.
Here is what you need to know before investing in any pre-owned car.
1) Do your research, buy smart!
There’s an old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s what you think you know… but just aint so…that gets you.
If the particular car you’re looking for has a poor mechanical reputation, chances are it’s been discussed among forums and articles online. This will also inform you of what you’re getting into if the maintenance records don’t have you convinced.
This is the first thing you should base your decision on. Unless you’ve got the money to burn, stay away from any car that has a bad mechanical rap sheet or an accident that has hurt the frame.
2) A Certified Pre-Owned Volvo should be your first choice.
Volvo CPO vehicles are only sold through licensed Volvo dealers.
It’s not something you’ll be offered from a private seller or any other car dealers.
This inspection program has 4 main benefits
1) We extend the original 4-year bumper to bumper warranty to 6 years or 180,000KM, whichever comes first.
2) We provide an extra 2 years of FREE roadside assistance
3) There is ZERO deductible for warranty work
4) We provide financing up to 72 months with rates much lower than banks, that saves you thousands of dollars.
We put our CPO vehicles through a comprehensive 130-point inspection. Then they are serviced and repaired (if needed) before being put on the lot. Volvo Canada wants to know they’re in great shape as they are backing them with their extended warranty.
The manufacturer-backed warranty that is extended to 6 years can be longer on a 2017 or 2018 than a new car with the 4-year warranty.
Extra warranty and low-interest rates, these are not your conventional used vehicles. If you are buying a CPO vehicle, you are at an advantage. They cost significantly less than a brand-new vehicle since the first owner absorbs the first years of depreciation costs and if something goes wrong, you’re backed by the extra warranty. You’ll be paying less money for more car.
Our CPO program protects you with a 2-year extended warranty and we will save thousands of dollars with our low loan rates.
If a CPO Volvo isn’t your first choice, you have more work to do.
- Check the engine. While the car is running, check for leaks and exhaust smoke.
- Check the gearbox and clutch. To do this, take the car for a drive. The gears should shift smoothly and quietly.
- Check the body. Look for rust. Check the straightness of the panels and look for any disparity in colour or other evidence of repairs.
- Check the interior. Check the mileage and compare it to the rest of the interior. If the car only has 50,000 KMs on the odometer the upholstery should look pretty new.
- Check the tires. Check all tires for any cuts, bulges, and uneven tread. Uneven tread can indicate poor alignment and/or wheel suspension. Check the wear levels on the inspection.
- Check the brakes. While driving “Drive” the car (keep the music off) listen to the brakes to see if you hear any noises, look for any shaking. And again, read the inspection report they will tell you what % of the brakes are left.
There are other things that people tend to overlook when inspecting a used car that can result in costly maintenance and repairs:
Triple check the check engine light – Turn the car on and off three times. If the seller reset the car’s battery in anticipation of your visit, the check engine light will come on after three starts.
Before starting the car, remove the radiator cap. If the colour of the car’s coolant is murky or has brown sludge, it’s a sign of a poorly maintained cooling system. This can cost you a lot of money down the road.
Checking the oil levels more than once is important. Before starting the car, check the dip stick. Then again after the car has been running for a few minutes. You’ll also want to remove the engine cap to check for any rust-coloured sludge.
In the world of mechanics, there’s always more to learn.
Any time you buy a pre-owned car, it’s a good idea to have a mechanic whom you trust inspect it before making your final decision. If that’s not an option, you should stick to shopping for Certified Pre-Owned Volvo vehicles, to ensure that you have a safety net should it need any repairs.