How To Identify If A Car Is New Or Used? [Complete Guide]

Getting a new car is often a highly enjoyable experience. This is especially true if you’re upgrading an older vehicle to a more contemporary model. But, it’s not always easy to identify if a car is new or used. Fortunately, you can use wear and tear and other indicators to help determine this.

6 Ways To Identify If A Car Is New Or Used

Let’s take a look at everything you should know if you want to identify if a car is new or used

Perform An Odometer Check

As you might guess, performing an odometer check is one of your primary responsibilities when looking into purchasing a car. But, of course, a brand-new car will have only a handful of miles on it compared to a car you previously owned.

Unfortunately, however, it’s not uncommon for car owners to modify the odometer so that it will display a lower number of miles than have been driven. More often than not, previous vehicle inspections will document the number of miles the car displayed at the inspection time.

odometer check
Odometer check

So, taking a look at this type of documentation can allow you to discern whether or not odometer fraud has occurred easily. Similarly, you can compare the mileage of the car you are interested in with the average mileage that similar cars have.

Keep this odometer information in mind when surveying other areas of the car. For example, if the miles are notably low but notice a handful of problems with the vehicle, the previous owner may have adjusted the odometer number to mislead you.

Look For General Wear And Tear

No matter how careful you are, your vehicle will likely experience wear and tear over time. This is because it can be notably difficult to avoid debris in the road, the actions of other drivers, etc.

The longer you own the car, the more prominent this wear and tear will often be.

So, take a quick look at the vehicle for signs of paint chipping, dents, or scratches. A brand-new car will never have any of these issues as long it has been cared for appropriately.

However, keep in mind that a used car that was kept in pristine condition may look brand-new under some circumstances.

See Also: Mercedes VIN Decoder Tool

Check The Tires

The condition of the tires will easily convey how much the car has been driven. First, however, you’ll need to consider how they advertised this car.

To clarify, let’s assume that a particular vehicle on the market is advertised as being in “like new” condition or barely used while the owner had it. The car may aesthetically look great, and the odometer may even display a low number of miles.

check tires
Check tires

But, a car with worn-out tires is typically a vehicle that the previous owner has driven frequently. So, of course, this isn’t a concern if the owner advertises this vehicle as used or previously owned. In other cases, though, you should be wary of the attempted deception. Checking the tires is an easy way to identify if a car is new or used.

Look Under The Hood

No matter how good a car looks on the outside, you must take a look under the hood before you put down the cash for it. When doing so, you will primarily be searching for the presence of damage or wear.

This means looking for signs like rust, cracks, dents, etc.

check under the hood
Check under the hood

In some cases, the car may even be unsafe to operate in its current condition. When checking the vehicle’s belts and hoses, be on the lookout for any discoloration or fraying.

Otherwise, you will be at risk of these components breaking while you drive the vehicle.

Similarly, you must check the car’s fluid levels. If the oil, transmission fluid, or coolant are low, this is often an indicator that the previous owner did not properly care for the vehicle.

Check Out The Interior

Before you decide to purchase the vehicle, you can’t neglect to check out the interior. The presence of rips, stains, or tears is something to be concerned about if the owner advertises that the car is new.

If you choose to confront them about these attributes, pay attention to the way they respond. If they attempt to downplay the situation or claim that it is the result of a factory defect, it’s best to look elsewhere.

check car interior
Check car interior

Honest individuals will be just as concerned as you are when this factor is brought to their attention.

Then, take a moment to check out the air conditioning and heating system. Turn the temperature as high and low as it can go to determine how efficiently the system operates. Similarly, you should also check the fans.

If the vehicle you are looking to purchase has a computer onboard, you can use it to determine the presence of any concerns that need your attention. In addition, by using a code reader, you will gain insight into any errors that are present.

This is an important obligation to consider since a car may have underlying issues that you would not otherwise be able to discern. If everything looks good in each of the above categories, the chances are that the car is as advertised.

Always Check For Wear And Tear Before You Buy

You must keep the above information in mind when looking. Knowing the signs of wear and tear to watch out for can help ensure that you know the condition of the car that you’re getting. You should always check for wear and tear if you want to identify if a car is new or used.

See Also: Chevrolet VIN Decoder Tools

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