What to Look for When Buying a Car: Auto Repair Insights

Deciding to buy a car is one of the bigger purchases you’ll make throughout life. It’s certainly an exciting purchase, but the buying process can be stressful and overwhelming. Whether you are buying new or used, the purchase will come with a significant financial impact. It’s crucial to approach the dealership armed with a firm understanding of your financial situation, available options, inspection criteria, and negotiating tactics. There’s a lot to look for when buying a new car, but we’ve outlined some initial steps that can help ensure you drive away in exactly the right car for you. 


Understanding Auto Repair Costs and Financing Your Car

Before you start looking at cars, it’s important to understand your current financial situation and what car you can afford. Start by finding out how much your current car is worth if you’re planning to trade it in. Also, look into your options for auto loans and financing. While many dealers offer financing, it can be a good idea to get pre-approved for a loan from your bank or credit union.

Remember, dealers are in the business of making money. They might offer you financing, but it might not be the best deal you can get. A good first step is to check your credit score. This can give you an idea of what kind of interest rates you might get and can help you negotiate.

Also, don’t just focus on the monthly payment. It might seem like an easy way to see if a car fits your budget, but it doesn’t give you the full picture. For example, an extra feature might only add $10 to your monthly payment, but over the life of the loan, it could cost much more than it’s worth.

If you’re planning to pay cash for a car, you might want to keep that to yourself at first. Dealers often make money from financing, so if they know you’re not going to finance, they might be less willing to negotiate.

Why Researching Your Options Matters: Auto Repair and Car Buying

When you’re considering buying a car, it’s really important to look at all your options. Start by figuring out what kind of car fits your lifestyle and what you need. Once you know what kind of car you want, you should think about what kind of repairs it might need in the future. Knowing about potential repairs can help you make a better decision when buying a car.

Next, you should compare prices online. Knowing how much the car usually costs can help you talk down the price and avoid paying too much. It can also help you spot problems. For example, if a used car is priced really low, it might need a lot of repairs.

Tools like Kelly Blue Book and TrueCar can help you figure out how much the car should cost. Also, you should look at the car’s safety ratings and repair history. This can help you choose a car that’s not only right for your life but also safe and reliable for you and your family.

The Test Drive

The test drive is a time for you to connect with your potential new car and gain some more valuable insights. Listen carefully to how the car starts and take note of any vibrations or abnormal noises. While on the road, make sure the brakes and transmission perform optimally. Use this time to help determine the condition of the car and whether this is the car you want to be spending your daily commute in.


When buying a used car, it’s important to dig into the car’s past and check out its current condition. This can help you avoid unexpected auto repairs down the line.

Looking into the Car’s Past

Start by searching for reviews online about the car model you’re interested in. This can give you a good idea of what other people’s experiences have been like. Dig into the car’s history once you’ve found a car you like, whether from a private seller or a dealership. Online services like CARFAX can give you a full history of the car using its vehicle identification number (VIN). You can also check the car’s title online through the DMV.

Checking the Car’s Current Condition

When you see the car in person, there are a few key things to look at. Check the outside, inside, and under the hood of the car. For the outside, look at the tires, body, and lights. For the inside, check the seats, controls, roof, and trunk. Under the hood, you want to make sure the fluids (like oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid) are the right color and at the right levels. If you see any fluids leaking, that’s a sign the car might need repairs.

Understanding the Car’s Mileage

The car’s mileage can also tell you a lot about its condition. Cars with low mileage might seem like a good deal, but if a car hasn’t been driven much, some parts might have dried out and become brittle. It’s usually better for a car to be driven regularly, so a used car with really low mileage might not be as good as it seems. Looking at the car’s maintenance and accident history can give you a better idea of how the car might perform in the future.

Checking the Mileage in a Used Car Before Buying

Getting a Professional Inspection

If you want to be really sure about the car’s condition, you can have a mechanic do a quality inspection. This might cost $100 or more, but it could save you money in the long run by catching potential repairs that you might not notice.


Buying a car is a big decision, and it’s one you shouldn’t rush. If you can, take your time. Do your research, and don’t hurry through the negotiation process. The more time you spend making sure you’re buying the right car for you, the less time you’ll have to spend dealing with auto repairs later on.

Being patient can help you spot potential auto repair issues before you buy. It gives you the chance to ask questions, get a professional inspection, and really understand what you’re getting into. This can save you a lot of time, money, and stress in the long run.
Remember, City Auto Repair is always here to help. We can answer any questions you have and help you understand potential auto repair needs. Our goal is to help you make a decision that will keep you on the road and give you peace of mind. If you want to learn more about cars and how to maintain them, join our car care clinics to have all your car questions answered!