What To Look For In A Pre-Owned Vehicle

What to look for when buying a pre-owned vehicle.

Pre-owned vehicles, much like their brand-new counterparts entering the market, come with their own set of pros and cons. Understanding what to scrutinize in a vehicle with a history is crucial to ensuring that your choice aligns perfectly with your needs. While opting for a preloved ride is a cost-effective decision, it's imperative to be aware of potential issues that may require attention in the near future. A seemingly too-good-to-be-true deal often raises red flags, suggesting that you might end up spending more on repairs than the vehicle's actual worth. At Nate Wade Subaru, we take pride in equipping you with the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision about your next ride. This includes a comprehensive understanding of the pre-owned vehicle's condition and whether any repairs or replacements are on the horizon. When you visit, pay close attention to the vehicle's overall appearance, tactile feel, and even its scent. During the recommended test drive, assess how the vehicle handles, gauging its responsiveness and smoothness. Any signs of difficulty or rough handling might indicate potential costly repairs in the near future. Check out our detailed guide designed to assist you in thoroughly inspecting a pre-owned vehicle, ensuring that it meets your expectations and requirements.

Photograph of the dashboard of a Subaru from the front passenger seat.

Know the Vehicle History

Understanding the history of your pre-owned vehicle is an important step in making an informed decision. When exploring our preloved inventory, it's advisable to request a maintenance record if available. This document provides valuable insights into the care and upkeep the vehicle has received over time. If obtaining a maintenance record is not feasible, our factory-trained and certified service technicians can thoroughly inspect the model for any underlying issues. Their expertise ensures a reliable assessment, and they provide an honest report for your consideration. Additionally, obtaining a vehicle history report using the VIN (vehicle identification number) is highly recommended. This report allows you to access information such as the number of previous owners, past collisions, and the accuracy of the odometer reading. It also reveals details like the vehicle's previous usage, potential damage due to weather, or any history of airbag deployment, offering a comprehensive understanding of the vehicle's past.

Close-up Photograph of the Subaru logo at the center of a black vehicle wheel.

Be Sure to Inspect the Exterior

Invest some time in a comprehensive examination of the exterior of your chosen pre-owned vehicle. Begin by scrutinizing the tread on the tires, ensuring they are all of the same brand. Pay attention to any scrapes on the paint and assess for dents, as these aspects contribute to the overall condition of the body. Identifying uneven wear on the tires is crucial, as it can lead to "feathering," impacting brake performance and jeopardizing the safety of the vehicle. Survey the body and undercarriage for signs of rust or corrosion. Stepping back to observe the vehicle, check for even grounding, as uneven positioning may indicate potential frame damage. Verify that all components are operational; test the functionality of the trunk and doors, examine the headlights for any damage, and ensure there are no odors emanating from the exterior or noticeable leaks. This thorough inspection ensures a comprehensive understanding of the exterior condition, contributing to a well-informed assessment of your pre-owned vehicle.

Interior Examination

After completing the exterior inspection, transition into the interior to assess the overall condition. While it's recommended to have a trained professional examine under the hood for potential issues, you can still gauge the ride's integrity from the inside. Start the car and observe if any warning lights illuminate on the dashboard. Test all buttons and controls to ensure proper functionality, and be attentive to potential interior issues such as seat or floor damage, a malfunctioning multimedia system, high mileage, or any trunk-related concerns. Additionally, explore any interior amenities in the pre-owned model that capture your interest.

Under the hood, check for rust or dents and inspect the belts and hoses for signs of wear. If you have the know-how, assess if the fluids, including the coolant, are at proper levels. With the car running, check for unusual smells, such as something burning. This also provides an opportunity to inspect the transmission by identifying red or pink fluid and checking for indications of gasket problems or leaks. Thoroughly examining the interior and under the hood ensures a comprehensive assessment of your pre-owned vehicle's overall condition.

Why A Test Drive is Important

Before finalizing any agreements, it's crucial to take your selected pre-owned vehicle for a test drive. This hands-on experience allows you to gauge how the vehicle turns, drives, and accelerates. It's advisable to test it across a range of speeds, from highway driving to slower in-town speeds. Assessing the steering responsiveness and the condition of the brakes during the test drive helps you quickly identify any issues that may need attention. Once identified, you can collaborate with our expert team members to determine the appropriate course of action. Visit us today to experience a test drive with a pre-owned vehicle that meets all your criteria and ensures your confidence in your decision.

Photograph of a Red Subaru Legacy Driving Outside a City.


Contact Us

Sales 801-656-6700

Service 801-656-6730

Parts 801-656-6740

1207 South Main Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

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Nate Wade Subaru 40.7426876, -111.8924435.