Buying a used car is often more cost-effective than purchasing a new one—especially for new drivers. There are a lot of variables to consider when buying a used car, and it’s easy to get scammed if you’re not careful. If you’re in the market for a reliable used car, look at this helpful guide to learn more about avoiding potential scams.
Locate Your Perfect Used Car
Before you even go out looking for a used car, research what models and makes are best for your needs and budget. Narrow down your search, so you know what specific vehicles you’re interested in before looking at them. To do this, find a used car near you by searching through a comprehensive list of local deals, like Forbes Wheel. This will enable you to scope out used cars across various dealerships instead of focusing on a specific seller, which is ideal if you’re trying to compare prices. CoPilot App makes your car buying journey a seamless process. Plus, it’s simple and completely free!
Check The Car’s History
Once you’ve chosen a few options, take the time to look at the vehicle’s history. This report will include information about the car, like previous accidents, mileage verification, recall history, and the number of prior owners. These reports often cost between $40 to $100, depending on how many reports you purchase. However, this cost is worth the knowledge you gain about the car’s history. A used car with extensive accident history is best left unpurchased.
Look For Hidden Damage
When inspecting a used car beyond its history report, be on the lookout for hidden damage. Sometimes sellers will try to hide damage from buyers to get a higher price. Some common places to look for hidden damage are:
- Under the car for oil leaks and fluid stains.
- The roof for dents or scratches.
- The body for rust and dents.
- The windows for cracks or chips in the glass.
- The tires for uneven wear or bald spots.
If you spot any signs of hidden damage, ask the seller about it. If they try to downplay the damage or deny that it’s there, you may want to consider moving on to another car. If you’re really interested in the vehicle, you could have it inspected by a mechanic before buying it. A good mechanic can tell you if there are any hidden problems with the car that may not be apparent from just looking at it.
Pay For The Car Safely
If you’re not buying a used car from a reputable seller or dealership, you need to stay vigilant and avoid fraud. For example, a seller may ask for a down payment, then refuse to deliver the car. Make sure any agreement or sale is in writing and includes all pertinent information like price, model year, and mileage. This will help protect you in case there are any later disagreements about the sale. In general, it’s best to avoid buying a used car from someone other than a reputable dealer. That means avoiding online marketplaces and sticking with honest businesses.
Financing a car or paying with a credit card is the safest route. If there are any problems with the car, you can dispute the charges with your credit card company. Certified funds are also secure because the money is held in escrow until the transaction is complete. This means that the dealer can’t take your money and run. If you’re ever unsure about a car dealer’s reputation, do thorough research and check its reviews or Better Business Bureau complaints.
It’s important to be aware of the potential scams when buying a used car. By being aware of what to look out for and taking precautions, you can avoid getting scammed and hopefully get a good deal on a used car.