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New, Old Car: Things To Keep In Mind When Choosing Your Car

Knowing what to buy will save you a lot of headaches

New Old Car is a new mini-segment of ours for people who aren’t gearheads and for people who have zero ideas of where to start when buying a second-hand vehicle. In this segment, we walk you through buying a second-hand car, getting it financed and fixing it back to top shape so you get the most out of your purchase.

So, you’ve decided to buy a second-hand car. That’s great! But before you go off to every used car lot and start checking classifieds online, there’s there are things you need to understand. Buying a car, especially a used one, is a hefty investment that doesn’t stop the moment you drive off with it. Knowing the cost involved in keeping your desired vehicle running will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

Evaluate your needs

Think about what car you really need for your lifestyle. If you’re a guy that like the idea of going on long road trips, try to look for a decent sedan that has enough oomph for highway use and won’t falter going up Baguio with four passengers on board (I’m looking at you, Mitsubishi Mirage). If you’re strictly a city dweller that just needs a vehicle to get to point a to point b, get a subcompact.

For my particular case, I needed something that had enough oomph for long-distance driving as well as something that I could enjoy as a driver.

Know the car’s record of reliability

Once you’ve decided on a vehicle you like, it’s time to do research. One thing that second-hand cars have over new ones is that major faults with them have probably already been found and documented by other people, with likely fixes and repair costs already laid out.

Aside from looking at an 8th Generation Honda Civic, I was also considering Ford’s Focus and Fiesta models from 2011 up. But transmission issues because of their dual clutch transmission used in these vehicles (which is reflected in the low resale value of said cars) made me hesitant to buy examples of both second hand since I wouldn’t have qualified for an extended warranty and any issues with the transmission would have to be dealt with out of pocket.

There’s plenty of resources available on the web for vehicles you’re eyeing, and a simple search of the brand of car you want, along with vehicle year plus reliability (ex: Honda Civic 8th gen reliability) should shower you with plenty of results. As for my car of choice, no big issues really stick out – the only thing of note that I found was reports of engine blocks for US customers cracking, but that seemed to be an issue isolated in the US.

Knowing these issues (and the fixes for them) will also give you ammunition when you’re haggling with sellers as well.

Find out the maintenance intervals of the car you’re looking at, and factor that into your budget

One thing that’s always repeated by people when buying a second-hand car is maintenance, i.e. the fact that older cars are harder to maintain than a new one. The fact is that cars built on the last two decades usually last a long time if the manufacturer’s regular maintenance schedule is followed.

With that in mind, one thing you want to take a look at before buying the car you want is looking at the car’s periodic maintenance schedule so you have an idea what kind of work you’ll have to put into the vehicle you’re buying. The first few years of owning a car usually just involve fluid changes, but the older it gets (or the more kilometers it racks up) the more involved the maintenance becomes.

As for where to find those manuals? You can check out this site, but take note most of these are for cars offered in the US. You’ll have to practice a little Google-fu to find out cars not included in this list.

One good way to find out how much a certain maintenance job or item will cost is to head on over to Banawe and start asking around, and factor that into your budget.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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