In the hopes of finding the perfect used vehicle, you have researched, pulled history reports, and compared a dozen different vehicle makes and models. You have put a lot of time and effort into finding the right vehicle. Don’t let your excitement cost you down the road. A used car can save you money, but only if you buy the right one.

The right used vehicle will be one which appeals to you, has a clean history report, and doesn’t need expensive repairs. It can be difficult to tell if a vehicle is in good shape. The best thing to do, is test drive your potential new car and watch for the following signs.

Slow acceleration is one of the first things you might notice while test driving. This can be caused by several things. The most common cause is a clogged or faulty fuel injector. Contaminates can enter fuel injectors over time and cause blockages. This will translate into slow acceleration due to lack of fuel. If you notice slow acceleration take note of it, it might mean your new car needs repair.

Squealing tires are annoying and another sign of needed repair.  Most of the time this noise is due to poor wheel alignment. Alignments are a routine maintenance item and relatively simple to perform. If a vehicle is out of alignment for a significant amount of time, the tires can wear down and tire tread can become uneven. The squeal might be an easy fix for your auto mechanic but the tires might be an expensive surprise.

If you notice surges in power or rough idling during your test drive, the vehicle may need new spark plugs. This is another common auto repair which is often overlooked. A sluggish engine can be fixed with the installation of fresh spark plugs. Just make sure you factor this into your decision to buy and the total price you’re willing to pay.

One of the most noticeable problems in a vehicle is pulling or drifting. This is most noticeable when you brake and the vehicle veers to one side, or when you take your hands off the wheel and it steers off course. Poor alignment, uneven tread wear, and even brake issues can be the cause.

If you notice any signs of needed repairs during your test drive, have a reputable auto shop look at the vehicle. Believe me, taking a little time and money to have your future vehicle inspected will save you a lot of grief down the road. If you’re serious about your next car purchase, let your local mechanic take a look before you sign that dotted line.