And the last step is maintenance. This isn’t really a part of buying a used car, but I think this seven step guide wouldn’t be complete without it. ( Plus it would be a six step guide, and I said this was a seven step guide.)
Routine maintenance is not that hard to do. Sure , you can take it to a Jiffy Lube, or some other local place to get the oil changed. But you can do it yourself as well. I think doing it yourself teaches you more about the car and it will save you some money. Money that could be used to buy a better oil, like a synthetic blend or something. Most people say a good rule of thumb for oil changes is every 3000 miles. I have never done that. I guess I should have, but I just can’t get to it that often. I usually go more like 10,000 miles. I know what you are thinking, ‘that’s too long’, and you may be right. I feel that somewhere around 6000-7000 miles would be fine.
So to make a list of things to think about doing yourself.
- Change oil
- Change the brake pads
- Change the rotors as necessary
- Check radiator and flush every 2-3 years
I do many other repairs myself such as water pumps, radiators, radiator hoses, almost anything. If you need to fix something, find a forum online where the people who own your particular model of car hang out. An example would be the Jeep Forum. You can find almost anything you need to know about your car and repairs on a good forum. The people are always happy to help you out.
Lastly, get a good local mechanic that you can trust! This is not that easy, but it will be worth it. Ask friends if they know anyone. Word of mouth is the best way to find a good mechanic. Most good mechanics will be very busy and it’ll take weeks to get an appointment. That may be a sign you have a good one. A good mechanic will give you the old parts they replace and show you why it failed. Just be careful and try a few until you are comfortable you can trust them.
This ends the “short version” of buying a used car. Please add comments to this series so we all can benefit from your personal experience. I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a secret that you could share? Maybe you know a good technique to make sure you get a great deal? Maybe you know a great website that we all need to know about. Leave a comment here so everyone can have that info!