Let’s face it, since hurricane Harvey, you have to be extra diligent in making sure that the used car you’re buying is going to be a good buy. Many of the issues caused by floods might be hard to detect and could take a while before they manifest. In this article, Motors On Wheels will relay its 14 years of car buying experience in order to help you make and informed decision:

First start with the low hanging fruit. Ask the dealer for the Carfax report or the AutoCheck report. If you don’t feel comfortable with the dealership, it’s best to buy your own report from AutoCheck or Carfax. All you’ll need is the VIN of the car which you can get from the dealer’s website.

Second (related to first), the report should contain recall history of the vehicle and the repairs performed. See if the previous owner performed timely repairs and followed up with all manufacturer recalls and recommended service.

Third, check all wear and tear items including brakes, batteries and tires. They may be near the end of their useful life but often are not replaced by used-car sellers. For the battery test for voltage and cold cranking amps (only takes a few minutes) to determine how much battery is left. For the brakes ask for oral (if you trust) or written confirmation of how much pad and rotor life is left.

Fourth, and we’re lumping a few smaller things in here make sure the car has a spare tire and all the tools required to replace it. Also, make sure that you get all the spare keys from the dealer.

One last thing, always read the most recent dealer reviews and make sure that their latest customers are satisfied. This is a very important point that will give you a good clue of whether the dealer will help you out in case something goes wrong shortly after buying the car. At Motors On Wheels, we always make sure that the first few weeks of buying a car are up to your expectations!

And that’s it for this month’s column! Until next December!