If you are looking to upgrade your current car to something else then you will have to decide whether you want a new car or used car. Buying pre owned cars can be risky, Especially if they are coming from private sellers. Reputable auto dealers will have the proper records but private sellers could skirt the truth.
- Running back the odometer
- Lying about maintenance
- Omitting the fact that it has a salvage title
These are just a few of the things that you may encounter. However, even buying pre owned cars at a dealership can be tricky as well depending on where you go. Here are some things to look out for.
If there is something sketchy about a title then you need to know. Make sure that you use Carfax or another reputable company to check the title of the vehicle you’re looking into. Sometimes a vehicle will change ownership and it will leave a paper trail. These papers document the owner and the mileage during each transaction. By pulling the reports you can see who has owned the car and it would help you to verify the history of the vehicle. As mentioned before, sometimes people will cover up the fact that it has a salvage title until you give them the money. This is not a situation that you want to get into. A salvage title means that the insurance company has completely written off the car.
If you don’t feel right about the condition of a car, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. The mechanical condition of a car is very critical. A car that is being sold specifically “as is” probably has quite a few things wrong with it. Even pre owned cars should appear to be in pretty good condition if you are buying from a decent car dealership. However, even if the car seems totally fine from the outside, you should still have the car inspected before you buy it by a mechanic that you trust. If the seller seems uncomfortable with the idea of somebody else looking at the car, this should be a red flag. Obvious defects such as the check engine light, bald tires and leakage under the car should be warning signs that the car has not been taken care of properly. Make sure that you complete not only a mechanical inspection but a cosmetic one as well. If the car is mechanically sound and the only problems or cosmetic, you can still comfortably by the car but you may be able to negotiate a price if you want to fix things like paint chips and oxidation or a broken power window.
New cars come with the standard five year warranty but pre owned cars usually have run out of this warranty. If you are being pushed into buying an extended warranty they should raise some questions. Do some research to find out how much they pay and claims and what the extended warranty will cover. Often times extended warranties do not cover big ticket items should they need repair and can be a real waste of money. Even if it’s salesman tells you everything is covered under an extended warranty, you should still look into it more. No warranty covers absolutely everything with no exclusions. Also keep in mind that you do not need to buy the extended warranty he that the dealer is offering. If you trust the dealer then this might work but you could also purchase one on your own if you felt better about doing that.
Make sure you look closely at the window stickers on used cars. There are commonly random acronyms listed. Things like MVA which stands for market value adjustment or ADM which is adjusted dealer markup are playing Redbox. This is simply so the dealer can charge whatever they want really. After adding high end stereo systems, tint or other accessories that add value, it can be understandable that the price would go up somewhat but you should always get an understandable explanation as to what every single charges for.
If you’re going to be buying a used car, your best bet is to go somewhere that you already trust and know they won’t rip you off.