Do you remember the phrase caveat emptor? In Latin, it means, “Let the buyer beware”, the same phrase is applicable when you want to purchase a used car. Buying a used car might seem lucrative to you, but making an instinctive purchase could mean you could end up with a lemon. Whether you intend to buy a car from the dealer or a private seller, it can be a daunting experience if you do not arm yourself with proper knowledge and resources. Scroll down to know what to look for before buying a used car:
Look carefully at the car’s exterior and interior
Check both the interior and the exterior of the car. Make sure that you check the interior upholstery carefully along with any repairs that might have been done on the exterior of the car. If there is a minor fender-bender, check if the repair work on the exterior is done professionally and is not glaring to your eyes. Find out if it was serviced at a dealership or by an independent mechanic. Open the hood and take a good look at the engine and parts, make sure that the repairs are not jerry-rigged.
Ask for the service records
Make sure that the service records are available. This is an important piece of document which tells you that the car was serviced regularly. If the seller of the car can provide you with the service records then it is good for you.
Go for a test drive
It is always recommended to take the car on a test drive on both local roads as well as highways. Taking a car on a test drive in a different environment will give you a good feel about how the car responds and performs. While going on a test drive make sure to keep your eyes and ears open to note any unusual sounds from the engine or brakes. Check how the engine performs on the high way and also look out for the difficulties when the car takes sharp turns on local roads.
Do a leak test
While taking the car on a test drive, take a moment to park the car in a clean area and let the car run for a minute. Then move closer to the car and examine it for any leaking substances. If you find any sign of leaking fluids which be a black green or pink fluid, it is generally a warning signal for needed repair. There may be a leak in anti-freeze or oil or even the transmission so be very cautious about such kind of cars before spending your money on it.
Check the paint job done on the car
Carefully check the paint job of the car and look out for any rust spots, dents or scratches. The car should be clean so that you can check the condition of the paints. Run your finger along the edges of the joints between the panels and look out for any roughness on the car. Roughness points out the residue left from masking tape.
Find out about the ownership history of the car.
Find out if the seller of the car is the original owner of the car. If the seller only owned the car for a short time then that is a warning signal. If the owner owned the car for a short period of time, this means he did not have much time to take good care of the car. This is why it is important to know whether the person was the original owner of the car.
Have a mechanic inspect the car
Sometimes this might seem to be an extra cost, but it is worthwhile. You might not have the experience to understand whether the car has any issues, what might appear to be a minor fault to your eyes might lead to an expensive repair down the road. A professional can help you detect hidden problems in the car which will give you inputs to determine the car’s value. You mechanic is the best person to let you know whether the engine is in good condition or whether there will be any problems in the future.
Inspect the tires.
Inspect the tires carefully. It should be worn evenly and they should match. Look at the surface of the tire for bad alignment. Bad alignment can be due to worn steering or suspension components or frame damage so this is an indicator to help you to understand whether the suspension components or steering are in good conditions.
Once you have done a thorough check-up, either yourself or with your mechanic, you now have to do some more researches on the vehicle.
Gather Required Information
Gather required info on the make and model of the car you wish to buy. You need to do some investigation and go through customer reviews regarding the make and model of the car to help you to reveal possible detects or other problems. This can be done quite easily by surfing online.
Ensure that you decode the VIN
Check the VIN decoder chart online and check whether the car that you wish to buy matches the vehicle’s title and records. It is recommended that you check the VIN because there are many scams that are happening with VIN where sellers are replacing the VIN of a stolen car with legally registered cars. So you should look before you leap.
Assess the fair purchase price
To determine whether you are being charged a fair price, make sure that you compare the prices for the same make and model of the car with several sources. You can check the details via the portals which are available online. You can check Kelly Blue Book and dealer prices to arrive at a ballpark figure of the current price. Although conditions like mileage, the condition of the car will play a vital role to estimate the cost of the car, however, you still will get an indication of what might be the cost of the car by doing some research online.
Owning a car is everyone’s dream and with the rising car prices, purchasing a used car can be a good option. However, it is not wise to rush into buying a used car. Taking time to do thorough research and negotiating for the correct price will help you to get a good deal on the vehicle. Impulsive buying can only result in a bad deal. Following these tips mentioned above may safeguard your interest and help ensure that you do not land up with a lemon.
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