So you’ve bought a new car. How do you know what you’re getting? It is hard to know what you’re getting because people sell cars for different reasons. Think about why you’ve sold cars. 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 cars with 25,000 to 35,000 miles on them are often lease returns, corporate program cars or vehicles that have done duty in rental fleets. We feel pretty confident because they’re newer and may still be under warranty. But how well have they been maintained?
If you plan on owning a car for a long time, you’ll keep up on the maintenance so that you can avoid expensive repairs down the road. But, if you know you’re only going to have the car 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 would be very tempting to skip the 30,000 mile service if you knew you’d be turning in your leased vehicle in a couple of months.
If the vehicle didn’t come with maintenance records, you 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 may be in order.
And if your “new” used vehicle has more miles on it, an inspection is even more important. Check your owner’s manual or talk with your service advisor about what should have been done. Please don’t forget the timing belt; that can be very expensive if it fails.
Your service advisor will help you with a plan to take care of critical services and get the rest caught up. If your budget won’t allow you to take care of everything right away, your advisor 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 when it’s time for you to sell.