Monday, September 24, 2018

What to Look for When Buying Your First Convertible

Convertible cars have become an increasingly reasonable purchase thanks to years of innovations and improvements. Convertible top mechanisms are more compact and durable allowing increased storage space, internal noise has all but been eliminated thanks to higher quality convertible top materials, and the prices are becoming more economical every year. However, when buying your first convertible, you’ll need to look at much more than the convertible top itself. So, we’ve put together some important things to consider so you’ll be informed when you make this important decision.

Checking for Water Damage

You should always check for water damage when buying any car, but it’s especially important when buying a previously-owned convertible. You’ll want to have your sense of smell intact when investigating a convertible and a flashlight can expose all sorts of issues. If there is the slightest hint of a mold or mildew smell, water stains under the floor mats or interior, or any tears in the lining between the doors, hood, and top, run away immediately. If the car is too fragrant, that may be an indication that they are hiding an odor likely caused by water damage. Sit in the car with the doors closed for several minutes slowly shining the flashlight along every seam and crevasse of the interior – trunk included.

Room to Grow

Many car manufacturers are making convertibles better suited for young people, as well as growing families. This means that you don’t have to compromise on space when it comes to buying a new convertible.  As your life changes, choosing a convertible with more space means you won’t have to give it up if there’s an addition to the family, and the kids can have a safe, spacious car to drive when the time comes. More room also means more friends and more comfort on long trips. So, while you may be considering a small, sporty convertible, don’t forget about your future self and the needs you may want to accommodate beyond having the wind in your hair.

Test Everything

When buying your first convertible, you’ll want to take your time and test drive every aspect of your potential new ride. This means raising and lowering the convertible top multiple times watching closely for any kinks or struggling of the mechanism. Aggressively rev the engine and when stopping push hard on the brakes repeatedly to test how they perform and whether or not they lose air pressure prematurely. Check the date of the last oil change and inspect all fluids and filters. Check under the hood before and after test driving to see if any oil or fluid leaks are present and look under the car for any drips that aren’t condensation from the AC.

Maintenance Records

Whenever you buy any car, always ask for any maintenance records the seller may have including oil changes, recalls, scheduled maintenance, and any other paperwork on the vehicle. They may have very little or none at all, but it’s a good idea to ask. Once you have narrowed down your choices, you’ll want to run a vehicle history report through one of the several online sites including Carfax and AutoCheck. They cannot always find everything, but they do provide a wealth of information and can save you from buying a wrecked or damaged convertible.

If you are unfamiliar or not confident in your ability to identify issues when buying a convertible, always take a friend or family member who is familiar with auto mechanics to help you make the right decision. Your efforts cannot identify every problem, but you can increase your chances of buying a quality vehicle at a great price.

What are your favorite tips for friends buying their first car? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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