Buying a used car is different than buying a new car from a dealership. A new car comes from a dealership and is exactly the same as the similar ones made in a factory; a used car can come from a neighbor, friend, website, or dealer. New car has no previous owners, and a used car can have multiple owners before ending up in your hands. This means that each car has a different history and that determines the condition they are in. You can never know what is “under the hood” from just looking from the outside, so here are some tips to help guide you to buying a used car.
The first question to always ask an owner of a used car that is looking to sell is the number of miles on the car because it gives you a good clue of the health condition the vehicle is in. The average number of miles per year is 15,000 miles, over that is considered “high mileage”. Keep in mind though that even though a car has low or average mileage does not mean it is in good condition.
The next question to consider is how the car was maintained throughout its history and the following is where it was maintained. Was the maintenance taken care of at the dealership, at an independent mechanic, or at a “shade tree” mechanic? Cars maintained at dealerships and independent mechanics are considered fine, but cars maintained at “shade tree” mechanics should be avoided. A “shade tree” mechanic is not affiliated with a garage. After that you must check if the maintenance is up-to-date.
After verifying the maintenance history, you should check the collision history if there is any. Do not depend on vehicle history reports are sometimes not accurate and do not include every accident that has occurred, so outside research is necessary. Ask the owner for the history, and if an accident has occurred to make sure that the required repairs have been made.To find out the condition of the car without just depending on the owner’s word, a car inspection is advised. Seller’s sometimes have only the intention to make money rather than telling the truth and hiding issues with a car. An inspection is a second step to discover what is really “under the hood”. Also make sure an inspection is performed by licensed personnel.
Once you have checked all the research, make sure you ask the dealer or even private seller on how they arrived at their desired selling price. Buying a car is a complex process and a lot goes into it from securing financing to assessing the condition. However, it is also important that you don’t pay too much. Once you’ve asked how the pricing is done on the car, it’s also time to ask if the price is negotiable. You need not cringe hearing the word “negotiate”. You’ve already researched the fair price of the car you’re considering, and you’ve already asked the seller how he arrived at that price point. Now, if he says that the price is negotiable, you can negotiate with conviction because you know what the fair price is as you’ve already done the research.
If you do the right research, buying a used car doesn’t have to be a risk if you just follow these easy steps. It might seem like a lot of work and research, but it will all be worth it in the long run. Good luck and happy used car shopping!