So, you have decided to buy a used car. If this is your first car, you might be filled with excitement and joy at the prospect of owning your own vehicle; or you might have had cars before, but for some reason or other, you have decided to buy a used car.
For many, this is an affordable option rather than purchasing a new car, but unfortunately, it comes with risks and no hard and fast rules as to how to traverse the treacherous path to that used car that you so desire. Notwithstanding, It might not be easy as it seems to buy a car, a used car at that, especially if you know very little about cars on the whole.
Of course, you want to make the best of the experience. The reasons for deciding to buy a used car will differ from person to person. Whether you are financially strapped or you are just a new driver and fear that there might be numerous bumps and scrapes before you finally get the hang of this driving thing.
Besides, deciding whether to buy from an individual or a dealership can be a daunting task. However, one may choose based on the perceived value or the type of car. Whether or not one should be prepared to ask specific questions; because forewarned is forearmed. Before making that ultimate commitment, you want to make sure that you are making the right choice to get value for your money because money doesn’t grow on trees.
What is the history of the car?
You may want to know how many previous owners the car has had. Also, you might want to determine the gender of the former owner. It is no secret that women are more nurturing than men. So, it is no different when it comes to a car. A woman tends to take better care of a car because they will keep it cleaner and are less likely to put the car under undue pressure. Women tend to drive slower than men, which can affect the wear and tear of the vehicle. They also take the care of their car as a priority just as caring for a child or spouse.
Additionally, there are also tools available that you can use to get more information about the history of the car that you are interested in acquiring. This will make it easier and allow you to check the history of the car-free of cost.
There are websites like Vehicle History that you can visit which will willingly give you information about the car in question such as the type of damage, insurance claims, and theft of the vehicle you are planning to buy.
Some red flag areas to look out for are the frequency of maintenance, and oil changes, poor emissions test, and where the car is from, as some areas are more prone to rust. The car’s history is essential in helping you to weed out the undesirables and help you get to that purchase that you hopefully will not regret.
The more information you have about the car, the more you can make an informed decision. Preparing a checklist of questions that you would like to ask the seller is a good idea. So bring it along with you during the negotiation process
Does everything works?
Behind the sale of every used car is a reason for cutting ties with the vehicle. You should try to determine the reason behind the deal. Whether or not the former owner was getting a new car or there is a fault with the car, and they are trying to get rid of it. Trust your instincts when getting these details, because some sellers will not willingly admit to the fault, especially if it’s significant.
Some things that you want to check for are lights, stereos, windows and doors, seatbelts, and wipers. Also, check for leakage and ask if the car has a working Jack as well as a spare tire.
Ask if there are any mechanical problems or whether or not any features have been recently added, such as headlights, tires, etc.
Has the vehicle been in any major accidents?
It is not always easy to determine the exact condition of the car. Every single detail may not show up on the report. You cannot just rely on the Carfax. In this case, develop a good relationship with a professional mechanic and have him examine the car. That way, you will be able to ask questions once any faults are noticed. If you detect faults or if the seller identifies some faults, negotiate with the seller to ensure that the faults are rectified before finalizing the purchase.
Has the engine ever been changed?
A car’s engine is designed to last for the life of the vehicle. So determining whether or not the car contains its original engine is of utmost importance. If the engine has been changed, then the functionality of the rest of the car comes into question. On the other hand, a new engine may add value to the car; in that, it may have less mileage than the original.
Knowing this will give you an idea of its reliability and help to determine what is considered a fair price or value for money. Additionally, determining the answer to this question is a good way to determine the legitimacy of the car, as a stolen car’s engine may not match the reports. Ensure to ask for evidence, such as a receipt, to ensure that the engine was replaced legitimately. Also, make sure that the job was done professionally so as not to cause further problems. You want to avoid being scammed at all costs.
Is the title for the car readily available?
Remember that scamming is an ever-present threat. Ensure that the person selling the car is the legal owner; that is, their name appears on the paperwork (usually a pink slip). If you are buying from a dealership, then the Dealer’s name should appear on the slip. If the bank’s name appears on the slip, it then means that there is an outstanding loan on the car. Make sure the information contained on the paperwork matches the vehicle, such as VIN, make, brand, year, and sale price.
Remember, without the title, the ownership of the car cannot be transferred to you. You should be able to receive the title of your car between 10 to 30 days after all payments have been made. Be wary of fraud when purchasing care on line.
Are both keys for the vehicle available?
Make certain to protect your investment. Most cars come with two keys. Car dealerships usually have one key because they or the previous owner may have lost the extra key. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that if an extra key exists, you have possession of it also. It will reduce the likelihood of any funny business, once you have paid for your car, whether by cash or loan.
There are known cases of cars being stolen within 24 hours of being purchased. You don’t want to fall victim to anything like that. In addition, having both keys would prevent the possibility of you locking yourself out of your car. Surely that is an added bonus that will ensure that you sleep better at nights and leave your mind free to think about more important things.
Apart from the price, are there any additional fees required?
If you are sticking to a budget, this is a very good question to ask. In some cases, in addition to paying for the car, you might have to pay other fees as well. These could include charges for registration, sales tax, processing fees, and extended warranties. So bear this in mind so that you are not caught off guard but are prepared.
How long is the warranty, and what does it cover?
Nothing in life is perfect, and situations are not always favorable. You might just find that shortly after purchasing your used car, you encounter some problems which can be costly to repair, no matter how trivial the problem may seem. You will want to find out whether or not your newly acquired used car still has a factory warranty. If it does, then that’s a plus and leaves you with one less thing to worry about. However, if it doesn’t, then you must determine the length of the warranty that the dealership offers.
The ballpark length for a warranty on used cars is typically 30 to 90 days. Be sure to ascertain exactly what the warranty covers after purchase. Some warranty will cover just your typical fender bender. A well-used car warranty should cover everything crucial to the efficient running of the vehicle; but how reliable is your warranty?
Usually, a warranty agreement is a lengthy document that you might find monotonous to read. Therefore, you should take some time to sit and read the document, especially the fine prints. Another option is to get an attorney to peruse the document for you.
Can I take the car for a test drive?
This is probably the most important part of the process of buying a used car. Before you begin your test drive, sit in the car, and assess the movements of the seat and backrest. Check the passenger seats as well, especially the back seat for leg space and how comfortable it might be for your passengers if you are to carry three of them in the back.
You need to get behind the wheel to see how well the car runs. Make sure to carefully observe the reaction of the seller, whether it is an individual or a dealer, whenever you make this request. Remember, you can tell a lot from nonverbal cues.
A seller confident in his product will not hesitate to let you test drive the vehicle. Still, trust goes both ways, so to make sure the seller is also comfortable, invite them along for the ride if they so desire. Make sure to spend at least 20 to 30 minutes at the wheel.
Ideally, you should check for practicality and comfort. You may need to test every feature of the car, or at least as much as possible. Ask about any special features that the particular car may possess. Take it for a test drive on highways and roads that are winding and curvy. Additionally, check to see how easy it is to maneuver the steering wheel. Is it right to the touch or heavy and cumbersome?
Also, check to see if the gears can seamlessly be shifted if it’s an automatic car. Other things to check for are the performance of the engine and the sound it makes once it has been revved up. More importantly, test driving the car will allow you to get a feel of the brakes to determine if they work correctly. Make sure to evaluate and examine the vehicle thoroughly before agreeing.
What kind of car do you see yourself driving?
This question should probably be number one, but ask yourself what kind of car do you want to buy? For everyone, it is different. Objectives for purchasing a used car may vary from person to person. Some people may want an efficient car to keep them mobile. Therefore how it looks on the interior or exterior might be unimportant.
Others might consider the size of the car and whether it is suitable to carry a fair amount of load. However, if you are like me, then buying the right car is of magnanimous importance. As I think of my car as an extension of my personality. Therefore, any old car will not do. It must be the right fit in every way possible