Are Used Cars Reliable?

Aerial view of cars parked in a lot

With today’s volatile car market, new vehicles are getting increasingly harder to come by. Whether it’s a lack of new vehicle inventory, month-long wait times or exorbitant dealer mark ups, some customers have no choice but to turn to the used or pre-owned vehicle market. As more and more individuals look toward the used car market, the question of whether used cars are reliable or not arises. A used vehicle’s reliability is contingent on several factors and luckily for you, our team at Auto Depot Sudbury has compiled a list of things to look out for when purchasing a used vehicle.

The Short Answer is: It Depends

Customers in the market for a used or pre-owned vehicle should understand that every vehicle is different, even if two vehicles share the same make, model and year. Although these vehicles may have been produced in the same facility and are the same trim level, the reliability of a used vehicle depends on several factors after it leaves the new car lot. As such, customers should be aware of a few things to look out for when purchasing a used vehicle. We’ve listed a handful of things to consider before settling on a deal for a used vehicle.

Things to Look For:

  • Have a Reputable Mechanic Inspect the Vehicle

The best way to ensure that a vehicle is in good reliable condition is to have a reputable licensed mechanic to perform a full-vehicle inspection prior to purchasing. A mechanic will be able to notice and point out vital information about the vehicle that prospective buyers would want to know before agreeing to purchase the car,

  • Vehicle Mileage

A car’s odometer reading is a solid metric to gauge a vehicle’s current condition and market value. As a general rule of thumb, most vehicles drive an industry average of 20,000 km per year. As such, finding a newer model year vehicle with fewer kilometres is a good way to ensure that it will be a reliable vehicle for a longer period of time.

  • Brand & Model Reputation

Customers have the ability to choose from several mainstream and luxury automakers when purchasing a used vehicle. Researching a specific model from a reputable automaker gives customers a better chance of ensuring that the vehicle they’re considering will last them in the long term.

  • Age & Condition

A newer pre-owned vehicle from a reputable automaker is more likely to be reliable in the long term compared to a much older model in relatively poor condition. Customers should make sure to take the vehicle on a test drive and do a thorough exterior and interior inspection before agreeing to purchase a used vehicle.

  • Vehicle Maintenance History

It’s in the best interest of customers to request a vehicle’s maintenance and accident history before agreeing to purchase a used vehicle. Proof that a vehicle has been properly serviced in accordance with its recommended maintenance schedule is more likely to be reliable in the long term.

  • Outstanding Model Recalls

A quick internet search of a full VIN should populate whether or not that specific model has any outstanding recalls from its manufacturer. Vehicle recalls should be taken very seriously as the safety and reliability of the vehicle may be compromised if a recall notice is left unaddressed. Click here to visit the Government of Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Recalls Database.

  • Purchase from Reputable Seller

Doing a quick Google search of a used vehicle dealership and reading through previous customer testimonials is always a good idea when purchasing a used vehicle. If purchasing from a private individual, ensure that all required information such as the vehicle ownership, the previous owner’s driver’s licence and Used Vehicle Information Package are provided at the time of purchase.