Older Vehicles

Used Cars: PDR Advice on What to Do After You Buy

Used vehicles are certainly an economical choice for budget-conscious Urbana drivers. But how can we know we're getting a good used vehicle and not just inheriting someone else's problems?

There are good used vehicles for sale in the Urbana area. Vehicles are sold when families upsize, when families downsize or even when someone just wants a new ride. So the used vehicle may be just fine. But some Urbana used vehicle owners sell them because they don't want to deal with developing or existing problems.

When you're considering buying a used vehicle in Urbana, ask for service records. Check to see if the recommended schedules for preventive maintenance have been followed. If so, you probably have a great used vehicle on your hands. If there aren't any service records, then assume the worst.

Check the vehicle for obvious signs of problems. Kick the tires if you want to but definitely check them for uneven tread wear. This can indicate alignment problems, worn shocks or suspension issues. Listen to the engine for unusual sounds and pay attention to unexpected odors. Take the vehicle for a test drive and make a list of any concerns you might have.

If the used vehicle you're looking at is a late model vehicle with under 35,000 miles/55,000 km on it, take it to PDR for an inspection. This inspection will reveal many basic or developing problems. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable pros at PDR about concerns you had on the test drive. Get a heads-up on needed repairs or maintenance.

Previously leased vehicles are often tempting to used vehicle buyers because they are generally newer models with low mileage and have been factory-cleaned. Be cautious, however. Many Urbana residents who lease vehicles don't bother with preventive maintenance because they know they'll be turning the vehicles in. Again, ask for maintenance records, take the vehicle in for a full-service oil change and consult with the pros at PDR about any problems the vehicle may have.

Older used vehicles are even more problematic for Urbana used car buyers. Older vehicles simply come with more maintenance and repair issues than new ones. Take these in for a used vehicle inspection at PDR. Usually, a seller will let you do this before you purchase the vehicle. These inspections are very thorough and will help you know what you're getting into. You'll be able to make an informed decision about your purchase. That peace of mind will make the cost of the inspection more than worth your while. It's always good auto advice for Urbana drivers to purchase a Carfax report on any used vehicle. This report will let you know if the vehicle has been in a major accident and will give you a title history. You'd be surprised what used vehicle buyers have learned from those reports. Know before you buy.

Once you purchase a used vehicle, give it some tender loving care. Give it a thorough cleaning, inside and out — and don't forget the engine compartment. A good wax on the outside will make it look and feel “new.” And, of course, stay on top of preventive maintenance. Used vehicles bought in Illinois can last a good, long time if they're properly cared for. They're economical to buy and can keep on saving us money if we look after them.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Odometer Rollback on Your Urbana, Illinois Vehicle

How do Urbana drivers know if an odometer is telling the truth?

Well, back in '86, Congress passed the Truth-in-Mileage Act to protect Illinois consumers against mileage fraud. It says a Illinois seller must certify the mileage reported is the actual mileage.

To have your odometer checked in Urbana, Illinois, stop by PDR:

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802

If it isn't, the seller must say why; for example, maybe the odometer is past its mechanical limits. Some older odometers only go to 99,999 and then start over at 0. Or, the odometer has been tampered with, broken or replaced.

If the seller tells you the mileage isn't accurate, there's not much chance of putting a good number to it. And there's the unscrupulous seller who claims the reading is true, but it isn't. What can Urbana vehicle owners do?

You can go to www.CarFax.com, where, for a small fee, they'll give you a comprehensive vehicle history search on your vehicle, showing local Urbana, Illinois, ownership history, accident reports, total-loss events, manufacturer buybacks, Lemon reports and warranty status.

You can get a mileage history by checking with the local Illinois DMV (or wherever you happen to be) and other verified sources looking for inconsistencies in the mileage reported when the car was bought and sold. If there are signs of odometer rollback, now you'll know.

If so, proceed with caution. Or, negotiate a lower price. Or just walk away. There's always another vehicle.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

What to Do After You Buy a Used Vehicle in Urbana

So you've bought a used vehicle in the Urbana area. Do you know what you're getting? It is hard to know what you're getting because people in the Urbana area sell vehicles for different reasons. Think about why you've sold vehicles. Did you just want something new or were there problems that you wanted to run away from? Maybe it was a little of both.

Used vehicles in Illinois with 25,000 to 35,000 miles/40,000 to 55,000 km on them are often lease returns, corporate program cars or rental fleet vehicles. Most Urbana buyers feel pretty confident about these because they're newer and may still be under warranty. But how well have they been maintained?

Urbana drivers who are planning to own a vehicle for a long time will keep up on auto maintenance so that they can avoid repairs down the road. But, if you know you're only going to have the vehicle for two or three years, you may not be so committed to maintenance. It would be easy to think that skipping an oil change here and there wouldn't ruin a brand new engine. Then it'll be someone else's problem when it comes time to pay for the damage.

It is very tempting for Urbana drivers to skip the 30,000 mile/50,000 km service if they know they'll be turning in their leased vehicle in a couple of months.

If the vehicle didn't come with maintenance records, Urbana used vehicle buyers need to assume the worst. Most likely the coolant system and transmission have never been serviced. The cabin air filter has probably not been changed and a fuel system cleaning at PDR may be in order.

You'll want PDR to check the A/C, battery, engine air filter, serpentine belt and hoses. A used vehicle inspection at PDR is well worth the cost.

And if your “new” used vehicle has been driven an even longer distance, an inspection is even more important. Check your owner's manual or talk with your service advisor at PDR about what should have been done. Please don't forget the timing belt; that can be very expensive if it fails.

PDR will help you with a plan to take care of services and get the rest caught up. If your budget won't allow you to take care of everything right away, we can help you prioritize your needs and get it taken care of over the next several months. And remember to keep your maintenance records. They'll help you get top dollar on the Illinois used vehicle market when it's time for you to sell.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com