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How to Buy a Used Car

Car shopper looking at a used car

Are you looking for a reliable pre-owned car around Redmond? Whether you’re looking for a sedan, SUV, crossover, van, or any type of model, there are a number of things to help you along the way when it comes to knowing what to look for when buying a used car. When it comes to mileage, a well-maintained model between 30,000 and 75,000 miles is ideal, while cars with 100,000 miles+ can still be a viable option if kept in good condition. That’s only the beginning of what to check when buying a used car. Learn more about how to buy a used car, and then bring home your next ride from Honda of Kirkland today!

As you get a chance to see your potential pre-owned car in person, there are many different aspects of the vehicle you want to check to ensure it can provide a long-lasting ride on Redmond roads. You’ll want to have a complete understanding of where your vehicle has been and where it’s capable of taking you. That’s why you’ll want to thoroughly inspect under the hood as well as the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Here’s the rundown of everything you’ll want to check when buying a used car:

What to Check When Buying a Used Car

Check Under the Hood

  • Oil levels should be high and the oil color should be light brown.
  • Inspect engine belts to ensure they are smooth with no cracks.
  • The transmission fluid dipstick should be pink or red. 
  • Make sure coolant levels are between minimum and maximum. 
  • Inspect brake fluid to make sure it’s at the maximum level.

Check the Outside of the Vehicle

  • Look for dents and scratches.
  • All tires should be the same and have even wear across the width.
  • Make sure the tailpipe is not black, which can be a sign of burning oil.
  • Check the car doors along with the trunk, fuel door, and fuel cap to ensure they are intact.
  • Inspect the quality of turn signals, headlights, and brake lights so that all work properly.


Car Being inspected by magnifying glass

Check the Inside of the Vehicle

  • See if you notice any smoke or musty smells in the vehicle as well as any signs of extra wear or potential water damage.
  • Inspect the quality of the steering wheel, seats, cabin wall, and pedals.
  • Check to make sure all doors lock and unlock properly.
  • Ensure A/C and heating are properly working along with other cabin controls. 
  • Monitor the temperature gauge for any signs of overheating, and ensure the radiator operates in response.

What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

When it’s time to take any pre-owned vehicle for a test drive, there are a number of things you’ll want to keep in mind as you take it for a spin on Redmond roads. While you’ll obviously have the chance to explore its many unique performance, technology, and safety features, this also gives you the opportunity to put your senses to the test and ensure your option checks all the boxes. Your pre-owned vehicle should provide you with optimal visibility, comfort, accessibility, and so much more to keep you moving with ease. Take these important factors into consideration when taking a used car out for a test drive:

  • Keep note of any blind spots, and ensure that you can see properly.
  • Notice how the car sounds when accelerating and steers when cornering, and check for any black smoke discharge from the exhaust.
  • Listen for any engine knocking or rattling when idling the car, as well as vibrations from worn suspension parts or tires.
  • Make sure brakes are responsive and do not jolt the vehicle or squeak. 
  • Ensure that you can easily access all vehicle gauges and controls. 
  • Test how the car effectively picks up speed and changes gears. 
  • See if the vehicle rides smooth or bumpy on flat roads and how it handles potholes. 
  • Determine the comfort of the driver’s seat and the test drive itself to ensure it is suitable to your needs. 

Find a Great Pre-Owned Car at Honda of Kirkland

Now that you know how to buy a used car, take a look at our used vehicle specials and certified pre-owned models at Honda of Kirkland to save on your next purchase. You can check our even more helpful car-buying tips and tricks, or value your trade-in online to get started. Our finance team is here to answer your questions. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our dealership right here in Kirkland!

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