Used Car Buying Guide at MINI of Ann Arbor
Shopping for a used vehicle can be a fun and exciting experience. However, without the right tools and information, the process can quickly turn into stress and frustration. MINI of Ann Arbor has assembled this useful guide of helpful tips and advice designed to make your next used car buying experience both positive and rewarding.
MINI of Ann Arbor is committed to delivering a used car shopping experience that’s second to none. Along with our inventory of new MINI vehicles, MINI of Ann Arbor offers a huge selection of over 60 quality pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs as well. In fact, every model on our lot must live up to our strict quality standards. These vehicles undergo a rigorous inspection and reconditioning process before being made available for sale.
Select a Reputable Dealership
The first step towards finding your new ride involves selecting the right dealership. Spend some time researching the dealer you have chosen. Read customer reviews along with feedback about their buying experience. You’ll want to choose a dealership with a history of providing exceptional customer service along with the highest quality used vehicles.
Vehicle History Report
A useful piece of information often included in the listing of a used car is a vehicle history report. CARFAX is the largest provider of these reports which include title information, accident history, vehicle registration, service and repair history, odometer readings, accident indicators, and frame/structural damage events. Vehicle history reports help identify potential issues or “red-flags” with a used vehicle that you would otherwise know nothing about. Here are a few of these indicators listed below.
- Emissions Testing — Depending on where you live, emissions testing may be mandatory and require a passing score to register and drive a vehicle. Vehicle history reports can tell you when a vehicle most recently passed or failed an emissions test. Multiple failures of emission tests could indicate a potential mechanical issue with a pre-owned vehicle.
- Vehicle Location — You can use a vehicle history report to determine exactly where a used vehicle has lived its life. Vehicles that have spent time in colder, snowy climates may have a higher tendency for rust or frame corrosion issues. Similarly, vehicles from the desert or coastal areas could indicate potential problems with paint. CARFAX reports can also identify if a vehicle has damage resulting from a flood, hail storm, or hurricane.
- Ownership Changes — While multiple owners may not necessarily indicate an issue, a vehicle history report will show how frequently a vehicle has changed hands. Multiple owners in a short timeframe could signify a difficult repair issue or a lapse in routine maintenance. Always pay close attention to the ownership history of a pre-owned vehicle.
In comparison to a typical used vehicle, certified pre-owned vehicles offer additional security and protection similar to that of a new vehicle. MINI Certified Pre-Owned vehicles offer coverage for 1 year/unlimited miles after the expiration of the 4-year/50,000-mile MINI New Passenger Car Limited Warranty*. This includes up to 5 years of 24/7 Roadside Assistance.
Just like buying new, a certified pre-owned vehicle comes with additional warranty coverage, sometimes as extensive as the warranty when the vehicle was new. Coverage typically includes components such as electrical, radio and navigation, climate controls, suspension, brakes, transmission, cooling system, steering, fuel system, and engine. Normal maintenance, tires, wear items, and accident damage are excluded.
Additional benefits include special finance rates (sometimes as low as 0.9% APR), complete vehicle history reports, and rigorous inspections prior to sale.
*The MINI Certified Pre-Owned Limited Warranty provides specific coverage against defects in materials and workmanship; the plan is not a Maintenance Program or an extension of the original 4-year/50,000 mile MINI New Passenger Car Limited Warranty. There are various items that are not covered by these warranties. For MINI Certified Pre-Owned vehicles retailed on or after April 1, 2014, the MINI Certified Pre-Owned Limited Warranty is not transferable except within the MINI authorized dealer network or subject to the following condition: Private to private consumer transaction, see Limited Warranty Transfer Application.
MINI of Ann Arbor also carries a selection of demonstration (demo) vehicles in our inventory. These vehicles have been hand selected from our new car inventory for our clients to briefly drive while their vehicle is in for service. Our demo cars help our customers sample the wide variety of models and features currently offered in the MINI lineup.
These demo vehicles are meticulously maintained by our team of factory-certified MINI technicians in our Service Department. They are also only briefly in use prior to being made available for sale with low mileage. MINI demo cars are an excellent opportunity for our guests to get behind the wheel of a new MINI at a significantly reduced price.
Why should I buy a MINI demo?
- MINI demo cars have low mileage (typically below 10,000 miles)
- MINI demo vehicles are current or previous model year vehicles
- MINI demo vehicles are backed by coverage from the 4-year/50,000-mile MINI New Passenger Car Limited Warranty
- Every MINI demo car includes a comprehensive vehicle history report
- MINI demo vehicles are eligible for lease and special incentives
Components to Inspect on a Used Car
Under the Hood Inspection
- Engine — Look for any visible leaks or corrosion. Dark oil stains on the engine block could be a sign of potentially expensive repairs in the future.
- Transmission — Use the transmission dipstick to inspect the fluid color. Fresh transmission fluid will be red or pink in color. Check for discoloration and a burnt smell, which could indicate an issue with the transmission.
- Oil — Check the oil level and color by inspecting the oil dipstick.
- Belts and Hoses — Make sure these are soft and not brittle while also inspecting for any cracks, splits, or damage.
- Body Panels — Verify the alignment of exterior body panels such as fenders or the trunk lid. Gaps or misalignment could be signs of a previous accident.
- Paint Condition — Go over the exterior of the vehicle, looking for any rust spots, dents, scratches, or repaired damage from an accident.
- Tires — Make sure all four tires are worn evenly and have a decent amount of tread left. Inspect tire sidewalls for damage, cracks, or punctures.
- Chassis and Frame — Check and make sure the frame is neither bent nor cracked. Look for holes, excessive corrosion, and previous repairs.
- Seating — Check seating surfaces and upholstery for rips, tears, holes, stains, or damage.
- Lights and Electronics — Inspect the lights and regular electronic functions of the car when it’s not moving. Verify everything is in good working order. These can include backup cameras, radio, parking sensors, power seats, and others.
- Air Conditioning — Turn on the air conditioning to make sure it works well. Adjust the temperature and fan speed to ensure everything works as it should.
- Odometer — Look and verify that the odometer is working and the mileage reading is accurate.