If you have enough cash in your pocket, then there’s nothing that is stopping you from blowing it on the first cool car that pops up in your search results. However, finding a vehicle that’s reliable takes a little more finesse. Here are five tips you can use to score a car that will last a lifetime.

Don’t Let Appearances Fool You

Fancy paint jobs, electric windows, and impeccable interiors shouldn’t be your priority when shopping for a reliable car. Just because a vehicle looks clean doesn’t mean it won’t leave you on the side of the road. Don’t let sellers pull the wool over your eyes. Leather is lovely, but it’s what’s under the hood that counts.

Use Specific Keywords

Reliable cars are sold by reliable owners who care about their cars. These types of sellers tend to use very specific keywords in the descriptions when they post cars for sale online. Here are some ideas for search terms.

  • Well-loved
  • Highway miles
  • Single owner
  • Maintenance record
  • No accidents
  • Mint
  • Estate sale

Look for Cars with Highway Mileage

A car with around 100,00 highway miles typically has less mechanical wear than a car with the same amount of city miles. City driving is harder on a vehicle, so a car that has primarily been driven on the highway is usually more reliable.

Ask for Maintenance Records

Maintenance records are the window into a vehicle’s history. You’ll be able to see if the owner kept up with oil changes and other necessary maintenance, so don’t be shy about asking the owner for the logbook. Whether they did the repairs themselves or took the car to a place like Elite Automotive, the person selling a reliable, good car is the type of person who has these records. Some owners keep their cars dealer-maintained, a very good indication that the ride you are buying won’t be a total lemon.

Shop for Reliable Brands

Some brands, like Honda and Toyota, were born to be reliable. You can research the most reliable brands with a quick Google search. Fortunately, reliable brands are almost always cheaper than luxury cars.

Finding a well-maintained used vehicle in your area doesn’t have to be a wild goose chase. If you follow these tips and have patience, you’ll be rolling into your driveway with a reliable car in no time.