Purchasing a second hand stroller is a great way to save money and the environment, but too many families end up with lemons because they were unsure of what questions to ask at the time of the sale. Think beyond year of gear (which isn’t always indicative of quality) and fill your diaper bag with these three questions to purchase the used stroller of your dreams!
Ask the seller to apply the brake in front of you. This is the single biggest issue that customers face when purchasing second hand. Some brakes can be repaired but some can not. For a list of gear that can be repaired, check our next in-depth blog post about post-warranty strollers.
Ask the seller to fold the stroller in front of you. Often times gear has been damaged and seeing if the stroller folds and pops open properly will help you make sure that you purchase well. Also, if the stroller has a lock on the side, make sure that the lock is not broken off or bent.
Ask the seller if they traveled on a plane with the stroller and, if so, did they use a padded travel bag. Countless strollers come in to our shop every week that have been damaged by the airlines. If you know that the seller used a padded travel bag, then you are less likely to purchase a stroller with chassis damage caused by being crunched under suitcases etc. If you are looking at a lightweight stroller that can fit in the overhead bin of an airplane, ask them if they always brought the stroller on board. It makes a difference!
Other things to look for:
- Alignment – Check alignment of the stroller by pushing on a flat surface and letting go. If it veers to one side, wobbles, or one wheel doesn’t always touch the ground, there could be chassis damage. Keep in mind that if a stroller has air-filled tires, like a jogger, and one side is flat or flatter than the other, the stroller will veer to the flat/flatter side. You can also stand behind the handlebar and look down at the stroller. If the chassis is significantly damaged, you might be able to see the whole stroller bent to one side or another.
- Mold – Many used strollers, especially joggers or those stored in garages or porches might have mold on them. It is not the worst thing in the world (and a Stroller Spa professional can safely remove mold spores and stains) but it’s still a good idea to look out for it and know about it before purchase. If you see mold, arrange to bring a large plastic bag with you to transport the gear before cleaning so as not to contaminate other items such as your car.
- Tires and Wheels – Is there still tread on the tires? Do they all have the same shape? If so, you are in luck! Be mindful of older tires and wheels as some manufactures change the axel shape or housing and faze out older parts, making it difficult to order wheels for second hand strollers. This particularly applies to customers who are interested in UPPAbaby CRUZ’s and VISTAs. Anything made before 2015 will likely be hard to find, and those wheels DO wear down, so buy a second set now if you want your gear to last.
- Buckles and straps – Take a moment to ask the seller to show you how to buckle all straps on the harness system and how to adjust the height. Be mindful of older BOB’s where the crotch strap tends to become brittle and wear away (they have since repaired this issue).
- Other Movable Parts – Ask the seller to show you all of the other movable parts on the stroller to make sure that they are in good working order. Many times, all buttons that do something are in a different color. On Bugaboo, all movable parts are usually white (or red if you live outside of the US), On Maxi Cosi and UPPAbaby they are light grey etc. Be particularly mindful of leg rests which tent to be kicked by toddlers when extended, thus breaking the mechanism.
- Service Program or Available Parts – Does the stroller that you are looking at have an authorized service center program or parts that are available for purchase to keep your gear running like new for years? Here at Stroller Spa, we only sell strollers that have such programs (circular economy for the win!) but some brands only have parts available for in warranty customers or, worse, are simply designed to be tossed. For a list of manufacturers with service center programs, see our next in-depth blog post about post-warranty strollers.
- Fabric Removal – Check to see if all of the fabric comes off of the stroller that you are looking at so that you can keep your stroller looking like new for years. For a list of top top strollers where all of the fabric comes off, see the list below.
Brands that have fabric that can be removed for cleaning:
Baby Zen – All models
BOB – All models, though 2011, particularly doubles, rank very difficult to remove due to the brake system being threaded through the fabric. Look out for screws
bumbleride – All models
Britax – All models though B-Agile ranks as difficult due to placement of screws
Bugaboo – All models
Joovy – All models, look out for screws
Maclaren – Most models. Markll basket is riveted in but easy to clean while on
Maxi Cosi – Most models
Nuna – All models
Orbit Baby – All models
phil&teds – All models
UPPAbaby – All new models. Older G-LUX’s and G-LITE’s – look out for screws
Valco – all models
Have other questions or are you looking at a stroller and want to know pros and cons? Please feel free to ask away! We are here for you and want to make sure that you never buy a lemon again!