Used Cars: The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Advice on What to Do After You Buy
Mar 12, 2017
Used vehicles are certainly an economical choice for budget-conscious Lancaster drivers. But how can we know we're getting a good used vehicle and not just inheriting someone else's problems?
There are good used vehicles for sale in the Lancaster area. Vehicles are sold when families upsize, when families downsize or even when someone just wants a new ride. So the used vehicle may be just fine. But some Lancaster used vehicle owners sell them because they don't want to deal with developing or existing problems.
When you're considering buying a used vehicle in Lancaster, ask for service records. Check to see if the recommended schedules for preventive maintenance have been followed. If so, you probably have a great used vehicle on your hands. If there aren't any service records, then assume the worst.
Check the vehicle for obvious signs of problems. Kick the tires if you want to but definitely check them for uneven tread wear. This can indicate alignment problems, worn shocks or suspension issues. Listen to the engine for unusual sounds and pay attention to unexpected odors. Take the vehicle for a test drive and make a list of any concerns you might have.
If the used vehicle you're looking at is a late model vehicle with under 35,000 miles/55,000 km on it, take it to The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for an inspection. This inspection will reveal many basic or developing problems. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley about concerns you had on the test drive. Get a heads-up on needed repairs or maintenance.
Previously leased vehicles are often tempting to used vehicle buyers because they are generally newer models with low mileage and have been factory-cleaned. Be cautious, however. Many Lancaster residents who lease vehicles don't bother with preventive maintenance because they know they'll be turning the vehicles in. Again, ask for maintenance records, take the vehicle in for a full-service oil change and consult with the pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley about any problems the vehicle may have.
Older used vehicles are even more problematic for Lancaster used car buyers. Older vehicles simply come with more maintenance and repair issues than new ones. Take these in for a used vehicle inspection at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. Usually, a seller will let you do this before you purchase the vehicle. These inspections are very thorough and will help you know what you're getting into. You'll be able to make an informed decision about your purchase. That peace of mind will make the cost of the inspection more than worth your while. It's always good auto advice for Lancaster drivers to purchase a Carfax report on any used vehicle. This report will let you know if the vehicle has been in a major accident and will give you a title history. You'd be surprised what used vehicle buyers have learned from those reports. Know before you buy.
Once you purchase a used vehicle, give it some tender loving care. Give it a thorough cleaning, inside and out — and don't forget the engine compartment. A good wax on the outside will make it look and feel “new.” And, of course, stay on top of preventive maintenance. Used vehicles bought in California can last a good, long time if they're properly cared for. They're economical to buy and can keep on saving us money if we look after them.
What to Do After You Buy a Used Vehicle in Lancaster
Feb 26, 2013
So you've bought a used vehicle in the Lancaster area. Do you know what you're getting? It is hard to know what you're getting because people in the Lancaster area sell vehicles for different reasons. Think about why you've sold vehicles. Did you just want something new or were there problems that you wanted to run away from? Maybe it was a little of both.
Used vehicles in California with 25,000 to 35,000 miles/40,000 to 55,000 km on them are often lease returns, corporate program cars or rental fleet vehicles. Most Lancaster buyers feel pretty confident about these because they're newer and may still be under warranty. But how well have they been maintained?
Lancaster drivers who are planning to own a vehicle for a long time will keep up on auto maintenance so that they can avoid repairs down the road. But, if you know you're only going to have the vehicle for two or three years, you may not be so committed to maintenance. It would be easy to think that skipping an oil change here and there wouldn't ruin a brand new engine. Then it'll be someone else's problem when it comes time to pay for the damage.
It is very tempting for Lancaster drivers to skip the 30,000 mile/50,000 km service if they know they'll be turning in their leased vehicle in a couple of months.
If the vehicle didn't come with maintenance records, Lancaster used vehicle buyers need to assume the worst. Most likely the coolant system and transmission have never been serviced. The cabin air filter has probably not been changed and a fuel system cleaning at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley may be in order.
You'll want The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to check the A/C, battery, engine air filter, serpentine belt and hoses. A used vehicle inspection at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley is well worth the cost.
And if your “new” used vehicle has been driven an even longer distance, an inspection is even more important. Check your owner's manual or talk with your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley about what should have been done. Please don't forget the timing belt; that can be very expensive if it fails.
The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will help you with a plan to take care of services and get the rest caught up. If your budget won't allow you to take care of everything right away, we can help you prioritize your needs and get it taken care of over the next several months. And remember to keep your maintenance records. They'll help you get top dollar on the California used vehicle market when it's time for you to sell.
Odometer Rollback on Your Lancaster, California Vehicle
Feb 08, 2012
How do Lancaster drivers know if an odometer is telling the truth?
Well, back in '86, Congress passed the Truth-in-Mileage Act to protect California consumers against mileage fraud. It says a California seller must certify the mileage reported is the actual mileage.
To have your odometer checked in Lancaster, California, stop by The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley:
The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley 226 West Avenue I Lancaster, California 93534
If it isn't, the seller must say why; for example, maybe the odometer is past its mechanical limits. Some older odometers only go to 99,999 and then start over at 0. Or, the odometer has been tampered with, broken or replaced.
If the seller tells you the mileage isn't accurate, there's not much chance of putting a good number to it. And there's the unscrupulous seller who claims the reading is true, but it isn't. What can Lancaster vehicle owners do?
You can go to www.CarFax.com, where, for a small fee, they'll give you a comprehensive vehicle history search on your vehicle, showing local Lancaster, California, ownership history, accident reports, total-loss events, manufacturer buybacks, Lemon reports and warranty status.
You can get a mileage history by checking with the local California DMV (or wherever you happen to be) and other verified sources looking for inconsistencies in the mileage reported when the car was bought and sold. If there are signs of odometer rollback, now you'll know.
If so, proceed with caution. Or, negotiate a lower price. Or just walk away. There's always another vehicle.