Cars have a thousand parts, and every single one of them can cause issues if it wears out or breaks. This makes buying a used car a delicate process. You must proceed with due diligence in order to bring the best car home. A used car not only comes with the wear and tear it got over time, but it also brings to light how the previous owner handled maintenance, repairs, and driving. All the same, you can get a great car if you take the necessary precautions. Here are five things that you should look for when you’re buying a used car.

1. The State Under the Hood

The state of what’s under the car’s hood should give you a good idea of how the car in question will work. Note that the engine is any vehicle’s most important part. If you’re not well-versed in this area, it’s a good idea to have an auto mechanic take a look at it for you. These professionals diagnose and repair vehicle multiple systems such as climate control systems, brakes, and engines. This means that they should have an easy time telling if something’s amiss.

2. The Upholstery

In a vehicle, the seats and other interior fabric can wear down considerably. Check to see if there are stains, tears, and cracked leather on the seats. If there are any, keep in mind that upholstery can be an expensive thing to repair. You may need to add this cost to the overall cost of buying the car. If you’re comfortable with doing so, go ahead and buy the vehicle.

3. The Mileage

High mileage matters a lot when you’re buying a used car. This is because it’s an indicator of how much the car was driven. Despite this, note that it may be better to buy a car with high mileage that was well-taken care of rather than buying one with low mileage but a spotty record of maintenance. A well-maintained car will always be a great option because it likely has minimal problematic parts and it’s not likely to fail at a sensitive time. Also, remember that a car that has a service history is 23% more valuable than one that hasn’t had regular maintenance done on it.

4. The Condition of the Tires

You should also check the tires on the new car that you want because these can be expensive to buy. The tread should be worn evenly, with all four tires matching. This is because extra wear on some tires and not all of them may be a sign of issues with the suspension, the frame, or even the steering. These are all issues that will cost a lot of money to fix and that you should be wary of.

5. The Vehicle’s History

The fifth thing that you need to do is to get the vehicle’s history by asking the owner to share as much information with you as they possibly can. Use the VIN number of the vehicle to check with a paid service whether the car has ever been in an accident, if there are any liens on it, or if the model has ever had any recalls. In 1975, the Center for Auto Safety started collecting data on the number of automotive lemons. It may be helpful to check this recent data.

Keep these five things in mind when you’re buying a used car and make sure that you’re okay with all of them. Doing this is going to increase your chances of actually loving the car that you take home and you’ll be likely to get satisfactory service out of it.