Four Things To Check When Buying A Car That's Over 10 Years Old

If you don't mind driving an older car, you can save a lot of money by purchasing a 10-year-old car in good condition. A lot of people do not want to drive cars this old, purely for style reasons. But if you're able to find an older car without any serious engine trouble -- and that has been maintained well over the years -- their loss is your gain. So, what should you check for when looking at used cars for sale?

1. Accident History

Just because a car is still drivable after an accident does not mean there is not hidden damage that will raise its ugly head later on. A car that is 10 years or more old has a greater chance of having been in an accident than one that is younger. If the current owner is not the only one who has owned the car, you may need to use an accident history search service to determine if the car has ever been in a crash.

2. Oil Change Records

An owner may be able to get away with barely ever changing their car's oil for a few years, but eventually, that bad habit will catch up with them. If a car is 10 years old, make sure that the current owner has been diligent in oil changes. Ask to see records or receipts verifying that the oil has been changed every 5,000 miles or as recommended in the owner's manual.

3. Timing Belt

The timing belt often goes in cars around 100,000 miles. Ask if the timing belt has already been replaced in this older car. If it has, then this is one piece of maintenance you don't have to worry about down the road! If the car still has its old timing belt, then know you will probably have to replace it soon.

4. Tires

Old tires are not a deal-breaker on an older car. You can surely replace the tires. However, if they are worn and the current driver has been driving the car on bad tires for a while, you can expect there may be issues with the brakes and suspension -- so you would want to have a mechanic look over these parts before buying the car.

To save yourself some headaches, try buying an older used car from a dealer rather than a private seller. They will be better able to tell you about the car's condition and make any necessary repairs.