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Essential Things to Look for When Buying a Used Car

1
Ridiculous price tag and rapid depreciation? No thanks. You’ve made a solid choice by picking used over new. It opens up your options in a big way, and you’ll be getting a better deal, hands down.

Of course, the buying process isn’t always as straightforward. Used car salesmen don’t exactly have a good reputation, and the plethora of options can often lead to ‘analysis paralysis’.
Research, Research, Research
When buying a house, you don’t just go to the nearest real estate agent and put up a bid, do you? Yet a lot of consumers do

SelfishMother.com
2
this very thing when buying a used car. They’ll go to a known dealer, get a car that ‘seems like a good deal’, and off they go. Don’t be that person.

The used market has become way more transparent ever since the advent of the internet, with consumers able to check resources like Cars.com and Edmunds. The latter has a handy True Market Value (TMV) tool, which helps you figure out whether you’re getting a good deal. It essentially compared what others have paid for the same/similar car model in your area. Also, research whether your chosen

SelfishMother.com
3
car model has a solid track history amongst consumers; 
Check the Vehicle’s History
You can’t tell what a vehicle has really been through simply by looking at it. Delving into the history of a used car is a step you should never skip. This is how you achieve a thorough vehicle check:

 

The VIN number. The Vehicle Identification Number is a unique identifier for any given vehicle. It’s a 17-character code that is absolutely exclusive to a single car. Make sure to double check that the VIN number matches the car in question.

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4
Collision history. Road accidents can lead to irreparable damage to a vehicle, even if it’s been passed fit after the event. If the car has sustained extensive damage, it’s best to look elsewhere.

Odometer. Avoid the oldest trick in the book, the odometer scam. VIN checks will show you if any tampering has happened.

Parts and equipment. Each and every part of the car will be listed in the check, which means that you’ll know if anything has been replaced with a cheaper or inferior version.

 
Take it For a Spin
An obvious

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step, right? However, there’s taking a car out for a pointless test drive, and there’s doing it properly. As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of checklists. Here’s what you need to look for:

 

Examine the exterior. Before you even think about driving, check out the exterior. Do a quick walk around and inspect the car for any obvious damage. Turn the lights on, make sure they all work as expected. Let the engine run a little bit; any weird noises? What about the exhaust? The paint should also be an even hue the entire way through

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(depending on the age of the vehicle, of course). 

Avoid the pre-planned route. Car dealers will take you on the smoothest route possible. Avoid it. Go for bumpy, annoying, and varied. You want to check real driving conditions so you can check for any suspicious rattling or engine noises.

 
Get a Professional Inspection
No matter how much you love cars, you’re not a professional. Even if you spend your weekend tinkering with your vehicle, you know an engine inside out, and you can recite the used car checklist in your sleep, it’s

SelfishMother.com
7
always worth getting a second opinion.

For example, you can get a mobile check conducted by professionals, where they’ll meet you at the lot and run a check with you. Ideally, however, you want to be able to get that done at a shop. It’ll cost you anywhere from $50 to $100, meaning you should only do it when you’re close to writing a cheque. 
Don’t Be Afraid to Play Hard Ball
Our final bit of advice is what perhaps holds consumers back quite a lot of the time. They do their research, know what to look for, and have a price in mind.

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However, when it comes to crunch time, they find it difficult to haggle, fall for the sweet talk, and end up succumbing to a bad deal.

 

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- 13 Jun 19

Ridiculous price tag and rapid depreciation? No thanks. You’ve made a solid choice by picking used over new. It opens up your options in a big way, and you’ll be getting a better deal, hands down.

Of course, the buying process isn’t always as straightforward. Used car salesmen don’t exactly have a good reputation, and the plethora of options can often lead to ‘analysis paralysis’.

Research, Research, Research

When buying a house, you don’t just go to the nearest real estate agent and put up a bid, do you? Yet a lot of consumers do this very thing when buying a used car. They’ll go to a known dealer, get a car that ‘seems like a good deal’, and off they go. Don’t be that person.

The used market has become way more transparent ever since the advent of the internet, with consumers able to check resources like Cars.com and Edmunds. The latter has a handy True Market Value (TMV) tool, which helps you figure out whether you’re getting a good deal. It essentially compared what others have paid for the same/similar car model in your area. Also, research whether your chosen car model has a solid track history amongst consumers; 

Check the Vehicle’s History

You can’t tell what a vehicle has really been through simply by looking at it. Delving into the history of a used car is a step you should never skip. This is how you achieve a thorough vehicle check:

 

  • The VIN number. The Vehicle Identification Number is a unique identifier for any given vehicle. It’s a 17-character code that is absolutely exclusive to a single car. Make sure to double check that the VIN number matches the car in question.
  • Collision history. Road accidents can lead to irreparable damage to a vehicle, even if it’s been passed fit after the event. If the car has sustained extensive damage, it’s best to look elsewhere.
  • Odometer. Avoid the oldest trick in the book, the odometer scam. VIN checks will show you if any tampering has happened.
  • Parts and equipment. Each and every part of the car will be listed in the check, which means that you’ll know if anything has been replaced with a cheaper or inferior version.

 

Take it For a Spin

An obvious step, right? However, there’s taking a car out for a pointless test drive, and there’s doing it properly. As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of checklists. Here’s what you need to look for:

 

  • Examine the exterior. Before you even think about driving, check out the exterior. Do a quick walk around and inspect the car for any obvious damage. Turn the lights on, make sure they all work as expected. Let the engine run a little bit; any weird noises? What about the exhaust? The paint should also be an even hue the entire way through (depending on the age of the vehicle, of course). 
  • Avoid the pre-planned route. Car dealers will take you on the smoothest route possible. Avoid it. Go for bumpy, annoying, and varied. You want to check real driving conditions so you can check for any suspicious rattling or engine noises.

 

Get a Professional Inspection

No matter how much you love cars, you’re not a professional. Even if you spend your weekend tinkering with your vehicle, you know an engine inside out, and you can recite the used car checklist in your sleep, it’s always worth getting a second opinion.

For example, you can get a mobile check conducted by professionals, where they’ll meet you at the lot and run a check with you. Ideally, however, you want to be able to get that done at a shop. It’ll cost you anywhere from $50 to $100, meaning you should only do it when you’re close to writing a cheque. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Play Hard Ball

Our final bit of advice is what perhaps holds consumers back quite a lot of the time. They do their research, know what to look for, and have a price in mind. However, when it comes to crunch time, they find it difficult to haggle, fall for the sweet talk, and end up succumbing to a bad deal.

 

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