Cars & Vehicles

10 Critical Things To Look Out For Before Buying a Car

One of the critical things to look out for before buying a car is to make sure you do not rush into making a decision. Buying a car is a dream for most people. Even though cars are fast becoming a utility for city dwellers instead of a luxury, the trends of buying them haven’t changed much. 

It is often the case to get overwhelmed with excitement when you decide to make the decision to buy a car due to several factors. However, this same excitement could lead you into a shoddy deal costing you regret and pain for a long period of time. 

To save you the pain associated with making the wrong choice, we have gathered the 10 critical things to look out for when buying a car. Our list is a short checklist and you may need extra checks. You can learn more about car buying tips in detail.

10 Critical Things To Look Out For Before Buying a Car

  1. The Purpose for the Vehicle

The purpose of the vehicle is very important for most part of the deciding process. When you approach showrooms or speak to agents for used cars, they will try to understand what your needs are. 

This is true for good salespeople who really care about getting you the best cars that fit your needs. If they are simply looking for your purchase, then they may have little interest in your needs. 

They may focus on trying to get you to buy anything at all. This is often a sign of several things if you are dealing with a used car agent. 

Knowing the purpose will help you choose between vehicle type to purchase, the features, and whether a new or old one will work for you. 

Assess your needs and look at the vehicles that fall within your range of needs. This will help you in your search and help you get acquainted with them. 

  1. Your Budget

Based on your determined needs, your preferred vehicle (s), and your budget, you stand a better chance of getting a better deal. This is because you can do some research to find out the best price for the vehicles against the amount you can offer.

This will help you to strike a strong bargain when dealing with the salesperson. 

  1. Old or New?

Based on your little research on market prices and your budget, you can quickly determine whether you should get a new or old vehicle. 

Most people are averse to old vehicles. But hear this out. Used cars are useful in certain situations. Regardless of what you want to do, the state of the vehicle is the most important determining factor. 

Hence you should insist on getting all there is to know about the vehicle (features, history, faults, insurance cost implications, etc.)

Whether for corporate, business, or personal use, you can find a good used or new vehicle to serve your needs.

  1. Vehicle History

Knowing a detailed history of the vehicle is very important when it is a used vehicle. This is because cars aren’t to be evaluated based on how they look on the surface. A quick paint job could get you thinking a completely dysfunctional car is good for driving.

For Ghanaian used cars, you may have to seek answers from the agent. 

For Foreign used vehicles, you may have a more official way of checking the history of the vehicle. Carfax is a great platform where you can enter the vehicle details to have access to history. If the vehicle has been reported stolen, you would know. If it has been involved in any accidents or other reported situations, you would get to see it in the records. 

  1. Check the Mileage of the Car

The mileage represents the distance traveled by the vehicle in its entire existence. There is a meter that calculates the mileage and you can easily check from the odometer. 

The more miles traveled by a vehicle the more likely it is that it has defects and faults. 

Even though this isn’t an accurate way of determining the value of the vehicle, it still serves as a rough estimate. A vehicle that has been used for a long time certainly has higher chances of having problems. 

Note that the mileage could be manipulated hence it may be better to have a mechanic check. A good mechanic would be able to know if it has been tampered with and possibly get the actual mileage. But signs of tampering should be offset already. 

  1. The exterior & interior of the Vehicle

The interior and exterior of the vehicle are what you would see first mostly. They either draw you in or out. For new vehicles, make sure you get the absolute best. But for used vehicles, you don’t need to sweat the small stuff such as minor scratches that can be easily be worked at. 

Be absolutely sure you like what you see. For used cars, be sure you do not over compromise with the look. To guide you, here are a few things to look out for;

The exterior & interior of the Vehicle: What to look for.

  1. Scratches and Paint Job
  2. Seat, Material/Leather. Are they cool for your taste? Are you willing to incur extra cost changing them?
  3. Air Conditioning.
  4. Check the Trunk of the Car. Be sure it works fine and the platform for holding your stuff holds well. 
  5. Lights. 
  6. Tires. Check the expiry dates. Look for signs of wear, one-sided wear might be a sign of an alignment issue. 
  1. Accessibility to Repair Parts and Service Centres

This may not be an issue for most vehicles. But better safe than sorry. It is best to seek the advice of your mechanic about options that readily available parts. It will prevent you from being stuck with a vehicle that is either difficult to obtain spare parts for. Or the spare parts are expensive. 

Also, be sure there is preferably a service center nearby. Having the make brand service center check is ideal. 

  1. Have a Mechanic Do a Thorough Inspection of the Vehicle

If you fail to do any of the other suggestions, do not miss this. The mechanic, assuming is honest and impartial, can find critical issues with the vehicle by inspecting it thoroughly. Even if you are satisfied with the other checks, do not pass this by. 

This is important for buying used cars, especially in Ghana. 

Things to Lookout for 

  1. Engine Leaks or Corrosion
  2. The Underbody
  3. Alignment
  4. The Anti-braking system
  5. Etc. The Mechanic would know what else to do. 
  1. Check the Dashboard

The dashboard is an excellent tool to check for possible faults with a used car. The vehicle instrumentation signs will light up for different reasons. Some are minor signs while others show possibly fatal faults. Do check the dashboard. 

  1.  Any Clunking noise when driving or turning at curves

A clunking noise while driving is often a sign of a problem. Have a mechanic assess for issues. 

Bonus Point

  1.  Take  a Test Drive

Knowing whether the vehicle has clunking noise when turning can only be ascertained from a good test drive spanning 30 minutes to 1 hour. Driving the vehicle will surely give you a real sense of how well you like the vehicle. Pay attention to the steering and imagine experiencing the car every day. This will help you to move beyond the excitement that test drives come with. Especially when it is a brand new car.  


Having a good bunch of tips before making the move to buy your car will be of great help if it is your first time purchasing a car. 

The main idea behind our top 11 critical things to look out for when buying a car is to be sure of what you are buying by doing your research and seeking help from an experienced person such as a mechanic. This will ensure that you have the best of advice to base your decision on.

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