Buying a used car can be nerve racking and a 40 years old car does not make it any easier. We have some tips to help ease the pain. We know, you may have heard most of these before but if they are new to you, pay close attention, they might be the difference between buying your dream car or a piece of junk. These five tips should help you to avoid some of the common potholes you can encounter when buying a used car.


  1. Do your homework before you even leave your house. There is tons of great info on forums online about pretty much any car. They will tell you about the common failure points and what to look for when you are in front of the car.
  2. It’s always good to bring a mechanically inclined friend or colleague. Someone that can be the voice of reason. They will usually catch things that you may have otherwise missed in your eagerness to get your new toy home.
  3. Bring some tools. Nothing major, just a flashlight and a magnet. The Flashlight lets you see into those crevasses under the car and inside the interior. The magnet will show you if crazy amounts of body filler was used to repair body damage. If the magnet sticks your good, if it falls off you may have some hidden problems
  4. Service records going back years are usually a good thing because they can show that a car was well taken care of. But, if you take the time to read them carefully, you may find reoccurring problems that you will have to look out for or maybe notice places where corners were cut during repairs.
  5. Get it up in the air. No, don’t do any Dukes of Hazard jumps! If you have access to a lift, get the car up and inspect the undercarriage. The underside can tell you a lot about the condition of the car and problems such as leaking fluids or exhaust problems.
Alyson Yarberry