Ten Things To Look Out For When Buying A Used Car
Est. Reading Time:
4 mins

10 Things To Look Out For When Buying A Used Car

The used car market has expanded exponentially over the past decade or so. With multiple benefits backing the decision of buying a used car over a new one, it is hardly a surprise that the former emerges victorious over the latter. A lot of potential car buyers prioritize monetary values and thus tend to choose used cars. But choosing the right used car is a decision that must be taken smartly. While used cars are wonderful on the judicious front, they are often shrouded with issues and discrepancies that the customer must be wary of. Unsuspecting buyers who invest in used cars without prior research tend to lose more money than they bargained for if they ignore some of the major precautions!

We bring to you a list of 10 strategies, red flags, and sure shot methods to ensure that your car buying experience is not one that ends up in “buyers remorse”!

Beware of Unlicensed Dealers

A ‘curbsider’ or an unlicensed individual, dealer, or retailer is one of the biggest red flags while buying a used car. These people buy vehicles, and instead of registering them under their own name, post the same vehicle for sale with a markup. This makes it easier for them to falsely advertise a vehicle and misrepresent the issues and real condition of the vehicle.

Doing Ample Research

One can never be too sure when investing in something. To aid yourself, it is advisable to gather as much information as possible about the purchase. Always check the dealer’s license to ascertain the authenticity of the dealer. A thorough background check is not only recommended but also helps you understand the dealer better. Their reputation, their management style, their inventory, their commitment. Be physically present and check the condition of the other vehicles they have around.

Too Good To Be True Is Almost Always Never True

It is common knowledge that if you’re looking to invest in something, there will always come along deal which is too good to be true. A perfect product, a perfect dealer, and even a perfect price. It is also common knowledge that this deal is the one you should stay far far far away from. All that glitters is not gold and it is what one must keep in mind while buying a used car. If there is no visible or immediately perceptible “flaw”, be it the physical condition of the car or the dealer himself, walk away. Chances are there will be something or the other to turn the entire deal sour. Trust your gut!

Don’t Skim on The History Report

The past does lead the way to the present. It is always advisable to invest time in reading up on the history report of the vehicle to understand what you’re getting into. This will also help you have a thorough knowledge of the vehicle, making it harder for the seller to try to trick you. Make sure that the seller’s name and address match up with the owner info on the vehicle registration form. Double-check the make, model, year, color, licence plate and VIN against the registration form. Understanding why the car is being sold is crucial. Make sure there’s absolutely no criminal record and ask questions. Even if it seems like a dumb question, ask. It will only help you in the long run.

Check Odometer Rollback

Check for evidence of tampering in and around the odometer. If there is even a slightest tear or scratch which suggests sabotage, take it up with the dealer. There are chances that the correct mileage is changed to make the vehicle more appealing. Beware of this fraud and check thoroughly for such evidence.

Make A List And Check It Twice

Maybe Santa Claus was onto something when he decided to double-check his lists. Take inspiration from Father Christmas and always double-check the car and its features. Give the inside and the outside of the car a thorough inspection. Take a test drive to make sure that the car is in the same condition that the seller is advertising.

Beware Of VIN Cloning

Stolen vehicles are often sold with vehicle identification numbers (VINs) that have been swiped from legally registered cars. That is why a thorough inspection of all documents as well as the vehicle itself (the dashboard, car frame, and door stickers in particular) is necessary. Match to make sure the VIN is consistent to avoid being sold a falsely registered vehicle.

Avoid Payment Till Absolutely Sure

A very honest mistake most people make is transferring money before viewing the vehicle or meeting the seller in person. This may not seem like much but identity fraud is one of the most common grievances of those buying second-hand cars. Therefore be absolutely sure of the vehicle and the seller, verify seller credentials and vehicle’s documents before making the payment.

Research Is Your Best Friend

Be an informed buyer. Being well informed of the seller as well as the vehicle is a must. Make sure to do prior research and understand what vehicle you’re looking for, what is the fair estimate of the vehicle you’ve chosen, and how the make, year, model, and mileage will affect that estimate.

Weigh-in On Expert Opinion

In spite of all these precautions and strategies to avoid fraud, it is fairly difficult to assess the actual condition of the car. More so if the buyer has limited knowledge about cars and how the used car market may work. In events like these, it is crucial to take the expert opinion into consideration. It is recommended that you get car inspections done by certified mechanics and/or car companies.

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Est. Reading Time:
4 mins

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