Program cars include rental vehicles, dealer demonstrators, fleet vehicles, leased vehicles, and vehicles driven by automobile manufacturer executives. Maintenance records should be available for both rental and fleet vehicles. Reviewing these records will give a full service history to the vehicle including frequency of maintenance. The value of program vehicles is lower than certified vehicles, which can be both a risk and a benefit. If the vehicle does not have an existing manufacturer warranty, you may want to consider an extended service contract through the dealer or credit union. Remember to factor in the additional cost of adding an extended service contract.
A good test drive tests both highway and city traffic, as well as, variety of different speeds, road conditions, surfaces (ex. pavement, gravel, etc.). For remote regions, the test drive should also include back roads with hills and curves. Pay special attention to comfort, visibility, spaciousness, and noise. Make sure the air conditioning and sound are working properly. The seller should be required to pay to repair any defects discovered during the test drive or pre-purchase inspection before you accept delivery.
You have the option to purchase a full vehicle inspection by a certified repair shop prior to purchasing a used vehicle. It is inexpensive and may save you a lot of money in the end.
AutoCheck® Vehicle History Report
AutoCheck® vehicle history reports provide a complete history pertaining to accidents, the vehicle title and odometer, and vehicle use. It is quick to run and provided by Houston Texas Fire Fighters FCU at a discounted price to credit union members.
Each report contains a score based on the condition of the vehicle, which allows you to compare multiple used vehicles quickly and with confidence. The compiled information in this report comes from trusted sources, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and dealerships. Experian® even offers BuyBack ProtectionTM for qualifying vehicles.
Black BookTM Used Car Guidelines
Use the following guidelines to verify the condition of vehicles. It is important not to over classify a vehicle when determining the price. If in doubt, use the lower category.
- Extra Clean - Like new for year model, perfect paint, no visible signs of wear, very low miles.
- Clean - Very little interior or exterior wear, matching tires with good tread, mechanically sound.
- Average - Visibly normal interior and exterior wear, still a good vehicle with substantial service remaining.
- Rough - A vehicle with below-average interior or exterior condition and/or one with excessive mileage. Limited serviceable life remaining.