Don't Get Burned When Buying A Used Car

Nowadays, buying a brand new car is almost a faux pas. There’s no need to be the one paying for depreciation when it’s at its heaviest, which is when a new car is first bought. If you go even a year older, you can get a similar car for much cheaper. That said, buying a used car can be fraught with expensive dangers, too. In particular, you want to make sure that you’re not getting burned by a seller who isn’t honest about what, exactly, they are selling.

Have a discerning eye

The first thing that you want to do is get to know the car that you’re intending to buy. You can check all kinds of information on the internet about the running costs of the car, how reliable it is, and how much value it’s likely to lose over time. However, getting face to face with the car is the most important step. You can make use of the many used car inspection checklists, such as this one from Driver’s Automart. This will give you an idea of all the little visual checks and inspections you can make without having to use a mechanic. If the car can’t pass these inspections without too many black marks, then it’s a sign that the seller needs to invest some time and money getting it up to scratch.

Get a professional’s opinion

That face-to-face inspection of the car should give you an idea of whether or not you should pursue your inquiries further, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only kind of check you should have in place. It’s key that you work with a mechanic or auto repair shop like Aarrow Transmissions for a pre-purchase inspection. In the best-case scenario, you want to work with a team that specializes in the brand and model of car that you’re having inspected. Either way, they’re going to bring both the diagnostic technology and the insight to be able to pick up on a car’s condition much more than a layman and might give you an idea of how much it might cost to bring it up to the standard you want.

The test drive is crucial

Inspecting it isn’t enough. You need to get an idea of how it feels on the road. For that reason, make sure you know how to test drive a car effectively. It might feel okay, but you need to keep an eye out for any signs that there could be problems down the line. Get a feel for how it handles, any noises that it might make, how it handles braking, going up hills, and so on. There might be elements of a new car that you have to get used to when driving, of course, but you want to make sure that it’s operational and safe, first and foremost.

Check its details

Getting to know the car isn’t just about getting to know the physical condition of the vehicle itself or how it drives. Every car has a history, and some may be more concerning than others. There are sites like Vehicle History that allow you to run up its vehicle identification number (or VIN) and you can learn a lot about a car. This can include details on how many owners it has had, whether it has been in any accidents, and, most importantly, whether it’s road legal. If a car is reported as written off or stolen, then the seller has no right putting it on the market, to begin with, and you should have nothing to do with them.

Keep all the costs in mind, not just the asking price

Costs should be at the forefront of your mind and you shouldn’t be dazzled by a low asking price before you figure out how it’s going to cost to run that car. There are a lot of monthly vehicle costs, such as how much fuel it consumes, how this car is going to affect your insurance premium, and somewhat more occasional costs, such as how much it’s going to cost to keep the car in good condition with repairs and replacements. Make sure that you know the entirety of how well a car will fit your budget before you decide that it’s for you.

If you want to ensure that the used car you’re buying is entirely legit, then the best bet might be to buy it from a dealer that certifies their pre-owned cars. Otherwise, be sure that you’re doing all of the checks above and know everything about what you’re buying, as best as possible, before any money changes any hands.

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