Buying a used car can be an unnerving experience for most of us.
Unless you are an experienced mechanic, there is no way of telling whether the vehicle will make it back to your home or not.
Deception is rife, but thankfully, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk.
1: Make Contact
Your first contact is vital when you are buying a used car. Kick off on the wrong foot and the seller might think they have you where they want you. But ask some key questions and you will give off the impression you know what you are talking about. Ask if everything is original, or whether there have been updates/replacements put in. You need to know specifics on spare parts, so ask for them – even if you don’t know what they mean.
Then ask about any damage to the car, including bumps, scratches or flaws in the paint. Move on to safety issues and mechanical problems, before asking if the car has been involved in any accidents. This should be a warning sign. Accidents could be the sign of a careless driver, who are far less likely to take care of their vehicle.
Finally, get a grasp on the price. You need to have something to work with when you finally meet.
Research similar cars to see if those prices match up. It’s a good idea to visit used dealer sites to see what they are offering. If you are after a Chevy, for example, then looking for vehicles at Smithchevyland.com/ can give you a good insight into what the car is worth to the dealer in resale value. You can also have a good stab at guessing what they paid for it. Your goal should be towards the lower of those two figures, and certainly no higher.
You also need to look into everything you can about the make, model and year of build. This will help you when it comes to talking about it. Have a look online at other people’s reviews of the vehicle. Are there common problems that crop up? Everything you find out can be used to lower the price and avoid getting stung.
3: The Meeting
Now you are armed with the knowledge, you can head into a meeting. Arrange it at a time that suits you, but don’t rush in. This could make you look too eager. Bring a friend or family member with you on the day of the meeting – you should never go alone. Make a good impression and be friendly. They should be your focus first off, not the car. You need to come across as knowledgeable, so put all your homework to good use.
Look the car over, including under the hood. Check for leakages, and double check anything the seller has said is faulty or has been replaced. Take it for a drive if you can, but this won’t always be possible. If you like it, don’t make an offer just yet. They may say that others are interested, but don’t be pressured into making a decision immediately. Go home. Think about it. Ring them the next day and negotiate a good price based on what you already know. If you have followed this advice to the letter, they will probably sell.
Congratulations, you have just bought a used car like a pro.
Image source : Flickr