The Ultimate Subaru Used Car Buying Guide
Upgrading your vehicle but still tossing up which car to get? Spending money on a used Subaru car can be a trying experience if you’re not prepared.
Choosing the Right car
In the end, you want to be driving away in a car that meets all your needs, having spent within your budget, but ideally, you’re also chuffed about having chosen the right car for you.
Choosing the right car means taking care of a couple of things.
- Your budget
- Your required features (think about your lifestyle – you might need a 4WD)
- Your taste in cars
Finding a car that ticks these boxes is great. But realistically, being a used car, you’ll also want to check that everything works too.
Used car buying guide checklist
Whether you’re laying down cash or financing, it’s good to be sure you’re making the right choice from a mechanical perspective. While most cars on the used car market are fine, you can get unlucky. That’s why it’s good to have a professional mechanic check the car over before you settle. Here are some things you should check before you sign off:
1. Check the vehicle’s history
Take a look at the vehicle’s service history. Don’t be afraid to really check the details, and if something doesn’t add up – ask questions. Things to look out for are large or abnormal services (may indicate an accident/major structural problem), large gaps between services, and finally, double-check that the service records match the car’s registration and make.
2. Check under the hood
Is everything intact? Are there loose bits or large stains from oil spills? It doesn’t take a professional to notice when things are wrong under the bonnet. Check that the oil levels are full and under the car for signs of leaks. Any signs of damage should be taken into account, but referring on to a professional mechanic is always the smart thing to do.
3. Check the interior and electrics
Get inside and have a feel around. Check the upholstery is intact, and have a play with all the buttons. This is a good time to check that the lights, windscreen wipers, emergency lights all the nitty gritty works. There’s nothing worse than driving away and then realising the sound system is kaput.
4. Check the paint and bodywork
Give the outside of the car a once-over. Look out for areas of rust, or scratches that might turn into more work down the road. Serious rust issues can lead to electrical issues and leaks, steering clear of any dodgy paintwork can be a lifesaver.
5. Take the car for a test drive
Always make sure you take the car for a spin. Try and get a feel for how it handles. You’ll want to be sure it can handle an emergency braking situation, but also you’ll want to make sure it can accelerate without a hassle. If you can, get on a freeway to test the speed. Check the gearbox is fully functional by “feeling” the car when it shifts between speeds. Make sure this is smooth and seamless, as gearbox replacements can run into the thousands of dollars.