Important Specs To Understand Before Shopping For A Pre-Owned Car

Important Specs To Understand Before Shopping For A Pre-Owned Car

Written by September 21, 2022

People love buying a new car, but not everyone understands the fine details of how they operate. This can be problematic, especially when shopping for a pre-owned vehicle. These important specs really do matter, and prospective buyers should familiarize themselves with the details before signing on the dotted line.

Thankfully, it’s quite easy to get acquainted with the specs of a vehicle. Most operate on the same basic criteria, from powertrain options, to sizing, and even towing capacity. Here’s a quick crash course - no pun intended - on everything you need to know about a vehicle.


What goes on under the hood of a vehicle is quite important, and different types of drivers will have different expectations they want to see fulfilled. For instance, does this car have enough horsepower to satisfy those who like a bit of speed? Does the vehicle have enough torque to handle towing a trailer?

And, of course, what is the fuel consumption of one vehicle versus another? These are all important questions to ask, and in many cases, they relate to one another. For instance, cars with higher horsepower tend to require beefier engines, which in turn can affect how much fuel they guzzle. Another thing to consider is whether the engine in question requires regular gasoline, or premium. You’ll want to invest in a pre-owned vehicle that won’t stress your budget over time, so be sure you know what you’re getting into.


Today’s cars are a far cry from the behemoths of the classic age, and many of them stress a compact form factor in order to achieve better handling and maneuverability. They also weigh a lot less than the cars of yore, which comes at the cost of utilizing weaker materials. Still, you’ll want to keep tabs on how large your target vehicle is.

For instance, are you interested in a pickup truck or an SUV that is too large for your garage? Is the vehicle too long to achieve things like parallel parking in a busy city? Do you live in an underground parking garage where space is tight? If so, you may need to consider an alternative vehicle. For best practice, simply measure length, width and the height of a vehicle, then determine whether you can fit it into your parking space, while getting around town easily. Off-road enthusiasts should also take note of ride height, not to mention approach, departure and breakover angles in order to prevent any nasty scrapes and damage to the undercarriage during weekend excursions.


Many people require vehicles with a strong towing capacity, either for work, or for family trips or personal adventures. Typically, SUVs and pickup trucks are chosen for towing, but some cars are also capable of towing small trailers. Make sure to pick a vehicle with a towing capacity that can handle the load. Even certain pickup trucks are limited when it comes to towing weight, and may not be able to handle a large trailer carrying your favorite speedboat.

In addition to the towing capacity, make sure to check tongue capacity, which is the maximum weight that can be accommodated at the trailer’s tongue. This will prevent any dangerous accidents and damage from occurring, especially when throttling down the highway during the next long weekend getaway.


Naturally, you’ll want to choose a vehicle that can accommodate your size, as well as those of your passengers. Married couples with children will need to take these space requirements into consideration, and it could mean the difference between swapping a two-door sports car for a more convenient four-door sports sedan.

Depending on your height, you’ll want to choose a vehicle with plenty of legroom and headroom. Otherwise, you may find yourself crammed into a very small seat, which is not only uncomfortable, but dangerous as well. In addition, you should investigate the hip room of the vehicle’s seats, as well as shoulder room. Both of these can affect how comfortable you and your passengers are in a vehicle.


Your vehicle of choice should match not only your personal tastes, but also your lifestyle. If you intend on packing a lot of gear into the trunk for long trips, you’re going to need a vehicle that has the space. SUVs are quite popular for those who need to stow a lot of gear, especially since the rear seats can be folded down to increase storage capacity.

That being said, many cars with a traditional trunk have a respectable amount of storage capacity as well, which is great for groceries, or a day out at the golf course. Your required storage capacity depends entirely on what you’re putting into your vehicle, and how often. Make sure to choose a pre-owned vehicle that can handle your daily routine.


While most understand the basics when it comes to vehicle specs, few actually take the time to narrow down the fine details. Make sure to investigate all the criteria listed above when choosing a pre-owned vehicle so that you can be sure you’re getting one that accommodates your lifestyle, and your family structure. helps thousands of car buyers secure the best pre-owned vehicles on the market, and we can help you choose the perfect one to suit your needs and tastes. Contact us today, and let us narrow down the list so you can pick the one you like the most. The process is fast, easy, and convenient.

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