Buying a used car can be a great way to save money.
But if you want to avoid getting ripped off, there are some important things you need to look for before signing on the dotted line.
Here are the most common mistakes people make when buying used cars and how you can avoid them.
1. “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”
When buying a car it is important to be able to inspect the car before you buy it. A lot of people make the mistake of not getting an inspection done because they don’t want to offend the seller by bringing up problems with their vehicle. If there is something wrong with the car that you feel like you need to know about, don’t be afraid to ask right off the bat. You can even offer to do some of the work yourself if possible; many sellers will jump at this chance because it means they won’t have to pay labor costs on top of your purchase price.
2. Making Assumptions
Another common mistake that some buyers make is basing their decision on assumptions. For example, if you are looking at a used car that has 100,000 miles on it and the seller tells you that they have replaced the timing belt twice, then you assume that it’s not going to break anytime soon. But without some sort of documentation proving this claim, there is no guarantee. A good way to avoid this is by asking for service records before making any decisions. If the seller seems hesitant or unwilling to provide any information about the vehicle’s history, you might want to look elsewhere.
3. Getting Stuck With Unnecessary Repairs
A lot of people end up purchasing a used car based on how well it runs at the time of sale only to end up having new problems crop up a few days or weeks after driving it home. This often happens because the owner has not kept up with maintenance and ends up selling you a vehicle that is going to need some expensive repairs in the near future. If you know what kind of shape critical components like brakes, belts, windshield wipers, and other essential systems are in before purchasing any used vehicles, then it can save you quite a bit of money and headaches down the road.
4. Not Asking Questions About Recalls
Car manufacturers will often issue recall notices for safety-related issues. It’s important to make sure that your car hasn’t been recalled before purchasing it because finding out afterward can be too late to get any compensation from the manufacturer or seller. If you don’t feel like asking the seller about recalls, check out this list of car manufacturers and their contact information.
5. Not Asking About Accidents or Flood Damage
Another mistake that some people make is failing to ask how many accidents a vehicle has been in before they purchase it. A lot of time these “accidental” damages were actually the result of negligence on behalf of the owner and can greatly affect a used car’s resale value. It’s also worth mentioning that flood-damaged vehicles often have extensive water damage that isn’t immediately apparent but will affect all sorts of components including electrical wiring, airbags, audio systems. People looking for an inexpensive way to get a new car may be tempted to buy from a flood-damaged car auction, sometimes without even knowing it. This is something you’ll want to look out for as well.
6. Not Considering Maintenance Costs
Another thing that some buyers tend to forget about is maintenance costs. If a vehicle has been maintained regularly and all of its components are in good shape, then it’s going to be worth more than one which hasn’t had any work done on it. But make sure that you do a comprehensive inspection because if the seller claims the vehicle has had regular maintenance and there are signs that parts have been replaced with faulty replicas or refurbished instead of new originals, then this might not be true. You can also ask around your local neighborhood to find out what type of upkeep the specific model you are looking at seems to require.