When you buy a used car, you want to learn as much about the car as possible before going through with the purchase. Learning as much as possible about the car will allow you to learn about the state and condition of the vehicle, and will give you an idea of how much work you will need to put into the vehicle in the future and how long the vehicle will last.
The Mileage & Age of the Vehicle
When you look at a vehicle, one of the first pieces of information that you will be presented with will be the mileage of the vehicle. When you are presented with mileage, don't just look at the number, ask questions about the number. A car that is 5 years old with 100,000 miles and a car that is 20 years old with 100,000 miles have very different vehicle histories and stories.
With a car that has a high number of miles based on the age of the car, it's important to ask why the mileage is high. Was the car driven on the highway frequently? Did it accumulate all the miles driving around time? Did it get the frequent oil changes and tune-ups that would be required for a high mileage vehicle.
For a vehicle that has a low number of miles, it is important to question that as well. Was it a second vehicle only used on the weekends? Was it the summer road trip vehicle? Were regular check-ups neglected due to the low mileage put on the vehicle each year?
Look beyond the mileage number and the age of the vehicle, and look into what these numbers tell you about the story of vehicle care and vehicle usage for the vehicle.
The Type of Title
Next, before you get invested in a vehicle, find out what type of title it has. Does it have a clean and clear title? Has the title been marked as salvaged or was the vehicle declared totaled or flooded?
You need to know the title history so you can decide if you want to learn more about the vehicle. For example, salvaged and rebuilt salvage titles often means that the vehicle was damaged to an extent that it would cost more to fix it than then it was worth. It doesn't mean the vehicle isn't drivable or that it hasn't been repaired.
You need to know what type of title you are willing to deal with. If you are investing a lot of money, it makes sense to want a clean title. If you only have a small amount of money to spend, and are just looking for something to get you buy, a salvage or rebuilt title may allow you to purchase a nice vehicle than you could otherwise afford.
Think carefully about the type of vehicle you can afford and what you are looking for in a vehicle, and use that to determine what type of title you are willing to purchase when it comes to a used vehicle.
When purchasing a vehicle, really look into what the age, mileage, and title status of the vehicle tell you about the car. Also, think about what you need out of the vehicle.