What to Look for When Buying a Car

What to Look for When Buying a Car

When making purchases, some people feel a conflict between something more emotionally satisfying and something more practical. Car purchases often exemplify this conflict. While some cars fulfill an emotional need, there are many other factors to consider when making your purchase.

What do you want from your car?

There’s a culture of cars in the United States, and for some people cars fill emotional needs. But buyers should ask themselves whether the vehicle meets practical needs.

Does the car: 

  • have enough seats for the whole family;
  • handle well for the weather conditions in their geographic area (snow, ice, rain, fog);
  • have good fuel economy; and
  • offer cargo/towing needs? 


Also consider the safety features on the vehicle. Aside from the obvious seatbelts and airbags, make sure the vehicle comes equipped with the latest crash-tested features like side airbags, frontal crash avoidance, and more. Do some research to determine which safety features are common for the class of vehicle you’re looking to purchase.

Once you understand what you’re looking for and what you need, you can start narrowing down your selections. For most car buyers, the needs should outweigh the wants.

Issues and Pitfalls of Buying a Car

Any car you’re considering buying should obviously be in good condition. Visit the dealer or seller in person and check the actual car for: 

  • rust;
  • damage to the belts;
  • damage to the paint;
  • foam in the oil;
  • transmission leaks; and
  • frame damage. 


Driving the car in the same conditions in which you normally drive the car is a good idea as well. For example, if you usually drive on the highway, ask if you can take it on the highway during your test drive. Finally, check the vehicle history using Carfax or another similar service to see if it’s been in an accident.

You’ll also have to watch for common car dealer tricks and tactics. For example, the bait and switch is not uncommon among car dealers. They may advertise a certain vehicle for sale or a certain price on a vehicle, and then try to sell you another car or give you another price once you get down to the dealership. Also watch for erroneous charges the dealer uses to markup the price. This might include fabric protection charges and other add-ons you don’t need.

Also keep an eye on odometer fraud if you’re buying a used vehicle, even if it’s a digital odometer. Carfax offers a free odometer check, so take advantage of this and other services to make sure the car’s mileage is correct.

If you’re ready to buy the car, make sure you thoroughly read through the contract and terms. If you are not comfortable evaluating the contract, bring along somebody who is. Dealers may hide certain charges or extras you don’t need; reading through the contract may help you spot them.

Were you in an accident? Contact Rob Levine & Associates

Take all the steps mentioned above to ensure you get a vehicle that suits your needs, provides adequate safety protection, and to avoid nefarious tricks from car dealers. But if you’re in an accident with your new car, call an attorney for legal assistance. Rob Levine & Associates can help drivers after a car accident. Contact our office at 800-LAW-1222 (529-1222) to set up a consultation.

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