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A Buyer's Guide to Getting a Used McLaren

There is a certain degree of status associated with owning a McLaren sports car, whether it's new or used. This is a high-end luxury brand and there is a thriving used market for these vehicles. Before you go out and buy the first one you see for sale, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you get the best deal on a quality used vehicle. This buyer's guide covers the most important things to keep in mind as you begin your search.

What to look for when buying a used McLaren

McLarens are considered exotic luxury sports cars and the value is high. As we move through our buyer's guide, it's wise to set aside a budget for how much you're willing and able to spend on a used McLaren. This will help you to narrow the list of choices significantly unless you have an unlimited bankroll. The next is the model you prefer, the year, and what kind of features and performance hallmarks you're looking for. Once you get these details ironed out, we'll look at the condition of the vehicle along with its overall ratings for reliability, maintenance, and insurance costs. Buying a McLaren is a little different than buying a used sports car that doesn't come with a high pedigree. You want to make sure that you know what you're getting at the time of the sale, and if you're going to need to dump more money into the vehicle to get it into good running condition, or fix any cosmetic issues.

Comparing the prices

Once you've decided on the price and the model/year you're looking for, start browsing through the advertisements and look for the best prices that are in line with the amount of money you have to spend. Check the Blue Book value through Edmunds or Kelly Blue Book, which both offer reliable tools to help you know the estimated value of a given vehicle. This helps you to know if you're looking at a good deal.

Investigate known issues with the model/year

According to McLaren, some McLaren models have known issues, for example, the MP4-12C is known to have softer paint for 2012 than previous years with chipping, some issues with fogging in the headlights and taillights, the splitters are easily damaged when going over sped bumps at the wrong angle, the adjustable doors may move out of alignment if slammed du to issue with the latching, and so forth.

Questions to ask the seller

Whether you're working with a dealership or a private seller, there are questions to ask about the history of the vehicle. Ask about the condition of the vehicle, if there are any known issues if the car has been in an accident, if it has had any significant repairs, if it has been properly maintained, how it has been stored, how many owners, and how much it has been driven.

Visual inspection

If you are satisfied with what the seller tells you about the vehicle, It's time to take a look at the car. Bar in mind any known issues and target these for your first visual inspection. Look for any signs of the known problems. Look for indications of bodywork, wear and tear, chipping paint, cracked glass, the condition of the exterior and the interior. If there is significant wear and tear on the vehicle, this could affect the overall value and if they're fixable things, it could help you to negotiate a lower selling price with the seller. Make sure that the doors open and close properly. Check the wheel wells for signs of damage on the inner arches. Look for any fluid leakage under the car and watch for any signs of corrosion.

The test drive

Before taking it out on a test drive make sure that the tires are all in good condition with ample tread, and that all turn signals and lighting are in proper working order. If the seller won't let you take the car out on a test drive, it's time to walk and go to the next car on the list. If you have proof of insurance there is no reason why you shouldn't be allowed to test drive an expensive exotic car. During the test drive listen for any noises such as rattles, clanks, etc. It's best to test drive when the car is cold. There should be no blue or black smoke coming from the exhaust and upon ignition, the pressure gauges should go up significantly. Listen to the idle for any misses or knocks. It should run smoothly. Take the vehicle out on the open road so you can get it up to highway speeds. Make note of how the transmission performs. Gear shifting should be smooth and seamless. There should be ample power during acceleration. Test the brakes and clutch and if everything checks out, you've likely found a mechanically sound used McLaren.

Ask for Documentation

The car should come with an original user manual. Ask the seller for all documentation that shows when the car was maintained, where services were received, and how often. Check the mileage because high miles will affect the overall value. If the car has not been sufficiently maintained there is likely to be excessive wear and tear on the internal components. You can also check with CarFax using the VIN of the vehicle to confirm the history of the car you're considering. Finally, if you're satisfied with the condition of the car, make an offer that is in line with the value of the car minus any necessary repairs.

Final thoughts

Buying a used McLaren requires a little thought and preparation before you start the process. Know what you're looking for, any known issues, and what to look for before you begin negotiations. Ask the right questions and confirm them. Know the real value of the car, and don't pay more than what it's worth.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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