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What to know before buying a car

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What to know before buying a car

Some students don't know much about cars and aren't sure what to ask before making that first big purchase.

Some students don't know much about cars and aren't sure what to ask before making that first big purchase.

Auden Hattendorf

Some students don't know much about cars and aren't sure what to ask before making that first big purchase.

Auden Hattendorf

Auden Hattendorf

Some students don't know much about cars and aren't sure what to ask before making that first big purchase.

Auden Hattendorf, Staff Writer

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Every student has had to think about driving. Whether they have their license or not, they’ve all had to think about buying their first car. Some people are blessed enough to have their parents cover the costs, but others are not as fortunate. They have to talk to the dealers at the dealerships, negotiate prices, consider the repairs that the vehicle could need and make the correct choices without their parents present. For many of these people, this can be a very daunting process.

“I got the money from my job for at least two and a half years,” said Gloria VanderMeyden. “I bought it from my friend. It was $2700. Although, I don’t think it was worth that much.”

Entering into the process of purchasing one’s first car without knowing prior knowledge about cars and their operation can be dangerous. Taking that risk isn’t something a lot of people are willing to. Thankfully, after a brief talk with a local car expert and enthusiast, Jigz Zshornack, many students can read and learn the how-tos and what-ifs about going out to buy their very own first car.

I learned how to drive at a very young age in the Philippines,” Zshornack said. “My dad had me behind the wheel of our family car as early as nine years old.”

With some heavy experience in cars, he had a lot to offer when prompted about what to know before setting out to buy that first car. Below is a list of some of Zshornack’s helpful tips:

  • Secure a loan through your bank or credit union before you go to the dealer. This saves you time, and you’ll be less likely to be talked into balloon interest loans.
  • Always ask to make sure the car is cold before it is started. There are things a car does at cold start that can easily be masked by letting it warm up.
  • Always look under the car for leaks. An honest dealer should have no problems having their service department put the car on the rack so you can see what is going on under the car.
  • While the vehicle is idling, make sure that there isn’t any blue or heavy white smoke coming out of the tailpipe. Most cars will have some faint smoke due to moisture, which is completely normal.
  • Always ask for service and accident history. The easiest way to check if panels have been replaced. Most cars will have VIN or number plates riveted onto the factory panels. If this is missing, then more than likely, the panel has been replaced.

After all of that information, I asked him if there was anything he wished he knew before purchasing his first car.

To check for the check engine light before you start the car,” Zshornack said. “I’ve had experiences where the previous owner had removed the bulb behind the instrument cluster to fool the buyer that the check engine light is not on.”

Some students, however, still refuse to drive at all.

“Driving is terrifying and no one will drive with me because they are terrified,” said Jacob Skinner, a student at Elgin Community College. “I don’t particularly want to drive. I know I need to, but I’m a broke chicken.”

About the Contributor
Auden Hattendorf, Staff Writer


I’m getting my Associates in Arts to transfer, I’ve been at ECC since the fall of 2016, and I felt like writing in another form (journalism) could...

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What to know before buying a car