I work in the auto industry, and one question that my friends and family ask me over and over again is:
“What’s the best way to find a good used car?”
Many of us choose to buy used cars. It makes sense. As you know, new cars can lose up to 30% of their value in the first 2 years. If you end up needing to sell that new car too soon, you’ll be wasting all your money.
The only problem is that buying a used car can be a minefield of mistakes. You need to know your stuff. You also need to be astute and understand the pitfalls. The truth is, not all of us are mechanics, and not all of us have the eye to tell bad from good used cars.
Today I’m going to share some steps and tips to improve your chances of making the right choice. There’s a lot of used car lore out there, but with the following ideas, you’ll be well on your way.
Why buy a good used car?
Use depreciation. When you buy a used car that is a few years old, you save yourself 20-30% of the value of that car. Someone else has already paid for you. You’ve reduced the risk of being financially trapped in that car. If for some reason you need to resell the car earlier than planned, you’ll be in a better position.
You choose! There are many different things that affect the price when you buy used goods. In model, brand, age, mileage, you will have more choices. You can choose to buy a car that you normally can’t afford if it’s brand new. You can really set any budget and shop within it. You can actually spend $2,000 or $200,000 on a used car. Each city is mature and has plenty of used cars in good condition.
There’s something new every day in the used car department. The used car market is always changing. This means there are always different cars to find and choose from. Most Victorian dealers have new stock every month. Often, you can use your computer at home to find new inventory. There are also plenty of private sales every day.
Should you buy used cars privately or from a dealer?
Choosing to work with dealers and private owners has many advantages.
Advantages of selling used cars privately:
You can sometimes find great deals on private sales listings. With some patience and time, you can find good deals online. Many online sellers are doing this because they are in trouble and need quick cash.
Typically, private owners are less aggressive when it comes to talking about numbers and processes. A private owner will allow you to do it at your own pace. Most car salesmen will give you a choice as soon as possible. This unnecessary pressure can be avoided by finding reliable salespeople or staying in the private market.
You can save a lot of time if you go to a used car dealer. They will have more choices in one place. As much as we don’t like the sales process, one thing it does is save time. The key is to find a reliable salesperson. Someone who really cares about you. Talk to someone about what kind of car you need, then drive, and then talk numbers over the course of a day, which means you can control the car in and out in a few hours.
Used car dealers in many areas must file car December. They will have documents such as a car certificate or car fax and safety inspection on hand. These are valuable documents that many private sellers ignore. They are a strong testament to the vehicle’s history.
Disadvantages of private cars
Most people sell their cars privately to get as much as they can. If they don’t care about getting as much as possible, then they’ll sell it to a dealer. Most people shop privately because they feel they can get a better deal than going to a dealer. In most cases, the price gap between private car buyers and private car sellers is larger than that between car dealers and car buyers. Private sellers often have more emotional attachment to their cars than dealers and have exaggerated ideas about their value.
Many times, dealers will incur additional fees for selling used cars. They also want you to buy additional warranties and products. Many of these products may not fit your life or needs. Please pay attention to what you sign. Don’t be afraid to ask early on what the extras are and what they are for. Many products are used in curtain situations. Once you have listened and understood what the additional features are, choose rationally whether you need them or not.
How to choose the right car.
Car certificate or car fax! Do not buy a used car, a private car, or a dealer unless you have read the car certificate/car fax. The car certificate is a historical report that will tell you if the car has been repaired as a result of a collision. It will also let you know if it is X-rental, X-lease or registered out of the province. It will also outline some of the major maintenance work that it completed. The document is a must when buying a used car. Most dealers will have one available.
If you are shopping privately and the store owner is not. Tell the owner that you won’t buy the car unless you provide proof.
Look at the car. Come down, it’s a bit dirty. Check for rust underneath the vehicle. Rust is a killer. Look at the impact, look at the nacelle.
Open the hood. Most used-car dealers do a good job of cleaning the engine. You can still find some signs. Look for leeks, rust and wear. Open the hood and start the car. When the engine is cool, it is most exposed. Get out again and look at the engine while it’s running. Listen for squeaks, purrs, clicks and other strange sounds.
Check the inside carefully. Use your nose. Smell it again. Strong perfumes and fresheners are usually used if the car has mold, dogs and smokers.
Lift floor MATS and check for moisture. And check the spare tire compartment. Again, look for rust and moisture in these areas.
Take it for a ride. Before you start fasting, put the car in neutral and give it some gas. Pay attention to the mirror and what’s behind it. You don’t want to see a lot of smoke.
Drives should cover different roads. Highways, roads, and a few bumps. Release the steering wheel on a straight road when it is safe to do so. See if the steering wheel is aligned. Listen for squeaks and other noises during bumps.
When you return, park in a clean area of the parking lot/driveway. Then turn off the car. This is when you will look at some of the paperwork. Return to the car in about 15 minutes and look under the engine. Look for wet marks on the driveway or lot. After the car runs, any leaks start to drip. If they do. Don’t buy a car.
At this point you should know if the car is running. Most reputable car dealers have cars inspected. You should have access to the report. Check it out to see if everything is ok. If it’s a private sale and you like the car, now is a good time to schedule a third-party inspection.
Finally, trust your instincts! If you have completed the steps listed, you should have a solid idea that the car you are looking at is in good working order.
Don’t be afraid to drag your friends along. Someone you know will be very objective about the whole thing. They can give some feedback and their opinions. Let them know that you only want their impression of the car, not whether you should buy it.
There are many other steps, tricks and techniques that I haven’t covered. If you have any thoughts to add, please do so in the comments section. Anything you can add to keep someone from buying the dreaded lemon will help.