Buying a classic car is a great experience, it is exciting, fun and there is nothing like the feeling of owning something you’ve followed and have fallen in love with. Even though a classic car is usually a love at first sight kind of thing, you need to keep your feet on the ground and stay realistic, this will make you a happy and satisfied owner in the present and future.
It is too easy to be fooled by fancy words, a shiny car and great specs (on paper). Whoever is selling you the car will probably try to convince you to take the opportunity, buy it and not look back, but you need to keep your head straight and remember there are several things you need to double check before you take the big step of getting a car.
No matter what the person selling the car tells you, you are the one in control, you hold all of the leverage and you have the right to take your time in order to be content and satisfied with your purchase. Since this is no small investment, especially for classic cars, so don’t rush and go through all of the details carefully as this is the only way to ensure you are getting exactly what you are looking for.
Before you go shopping remember to check 4 important things:
- Do a proper research on the brand and the model you want, remember that classic cars come from a different period and even though they are sturdy they may have glitches or quirks that are vital for you to know before going shopping.
- Since a classic car normally has been used for a long time do not forget to check the vehicle’s history. You can find it on Carfax and the only thing you will need is the VIN of the car.
- Double check if the price they are offering you is fair by checking on Kelley Blue Book, it is great for both new and used cars.
- Don’t be lazy, prepare your own paperwork (especially if you are getting your car from a private seller) and print your own bill of sale too.
After going through your pre-buy checklist, you should definitely go for a test drive. Test driving your future car is one of the most important things to do before you buy it. This step is often overlooked; it is a crucial step in your buying plans. So, I thought it would be great to give you 5 steps to keep in mind when you are test driving a car.
Check the size!
This is something important to keep in mind depending on the use you are going to give the car. If you are buying the car as a part of your dream, but you will also need to take your kids to school (for example), then make sure they will fit. It could be a very good idea to take your whole family on the test drive, just to gauge if everyone will fit as nicely as you want them to.
Review the outside
This is an extremely important step. It is a good idea to take a mechanic with you so he/she can check the overall condition of the car, if you can’t do this, then you should check the outside of the car for any scratches, rust or dents. Also, verify that the doors and windows open and close properly (no weird sounds or movements), turn on the car and verify nothing is leaking underneath it too.
For safety purposes, you should also check the tires. Not checking the tires can cost you hundreds of dollars (because you would have to buy new ones after your purchase) and they can be a safety hazard if worn out.
Just as an FYI, new cars should also be reviewed, they can get damaged in situations such as shipping or transportation, and even though this is normally covered by the warranty, it is best if you avoid these issues in the first place.
Review the inside
Do a thorough checkup once you are inside of the car. Take your time to look through the air vents, control systems, seats (both front and back seats), steering wheel, lights, radio, locks, and the mirrors. Pay attention to the sound of the engine and any additional sounds that the car might make. Once you are sure everything works well and you are satisfied with it, it’s time to take it out for a spin.
Going for a ride
The actual test drive is very important and you need to be alert and pay attention to absolutely everything, especially to the details, try slowing down from a speed of 50 mph, check if the car stays in line or if it lines to any side, check if the car shudders (even a little) and if the brake pedal is firm; all of this can tell you if there are problems with fluids or the rotors.
Check also that the car does not wander to either side when you don’t have a very firm grip on the steering wheel as this can mean a problem with the alignment. If you can go through some bumps it can be a great opportunity to check the suspension and making sure everything works there as well.
Make an informed decision
If you have any doubts or if something does not feel quite right, don’t buy the vehicle. Instead, have a third person look into what you don’t feel right about. This is an investment you will have for a few years so you should always try to get the best bang for your buck. Buying a car should be a delightful experience, but don’t forget to be as unbiased and rational as possible, remember that classic cars are a special type of cars and they have a very special market.
You can’t go wrong if you take these steps into account whenever you are looking for a car to buy. You should always use these steps in order to make sure you are avoiding potential safety issues and additional expenses. Do you have any car buying tips you would add to this list? Let us know in the comment section below.
A 26-year-old wanna-be writer in love with tech, cars and pretty much anything that can be found online. Cars are a personal passion which I inherited from my father; I am in love with classic cars and my own ride is an amazing black 1979 Chevrolet El Camino.