With the high price tag of new cars, and the quick depreciation rate of new vehicles, many consumers look for used cars for sale instead. While used cars have certain benefits and investing in one may seem like a judicious option, buyers still need to be smart in their choices. Used cars that are sold with hidden damage can become costly problems for the unsuspecting buyer. Sellers are very quick to act on the buyers’ ignorance and take advantage of the Information Asymmetry involved in the process. Certain facts may be hidden from the buyer or tampered with to present the car in a more appealing way.
To avoid having the “Buyer’s Remorse” by purchasing the proverbial lemon, here’s a checklist of 10 strategies you should be aware of to ensure the condition and value before purchasing a used car.
10 Precautions To Take When Buying Used Cars
Beware -> Research -> Ask -> Inspect -> Verify
1) Beware of Curbsiders
A curbsider is an unlicensed individual, dealer or retailer who buys up vehicles and instead of registering them under their own name, will post the same vehicle for sale with a mark up. They might misrepresent the real condition of the car or hide major issues to make it look appealing. Beware!
2) Research — Check out the Dealer
When buying from dealers Look into the their background and reputation. Does the dealer have a sizable inventory? A dealer with a small inventory could be a curbsider. Do you see scrapped cars lying around? It could be that the dealer refurbishes the cars to hide cuts and major defects and then sells them for a profit. Always check the dealer’s license to ascertain the authenticity of the dealer.
3) “Too Good To Be True” equals BAD
That listing sure seems appealing for the car looks promisingly untouched and well the price is astonishingly low. The age old saying goes- “All that glitters is not gold“, so make sure you ask for “the catch” cause there has to be some. If the price seems too low to be true or the seller does something that sets off your alarm bell- Walk Away! It might be the case that the car has some serious issues and the seller is looking for an easy exit.
4) Check the Vehicle’s History Report
Check that the seller’s name and address matches up with the owner info on the vehicle registration form. If it’s a dealer ask him about the seller and why the car is being sold. The car could be a stolen one or could have been involved in a criminal activity. You don’t want to take ownership of a vehicle that is being sought by the Police. Also double check the make, model, year, color, licence plate and VIN against the registration form.
5) Check for Odometer Rollback
Is there any evidence of sabotage (scratches, cracks) in and around the odometer? Does the wear and tear of the vehicle show more use than the mileage would indicate? It could be that the odometer was tampered with to show that the car hasn’t been run much. This is one of most common frauds that buyers face.
6) Double check the condition of the Car
Give the inside and the outside of the car a thorough inspection and take a test drive to make sure that the car is in the same condition that the seller is advertising. Read our Used Car Buying Guide on how to inspect a used car.
7) Watch out for VIN Cloning
Stolen vehicles are often sold with vehicle identification numbers (VINs) that have been swiped from legally registered cars. One way to avoid being a victim of this scam is to verify that all of the VINs on a vehicle match, including those on the dashboard, the driver’s side door sticker, the car’s frame and the paperwork for the vehicle.
8) Know when to Pay
Do not transfer the money until you have seen the car in person and met the seller. Verify the Sellers’ Credentials before making the payment. Become extremely cautious if the price of the car sounds too good to be true.
9) Verify the Car Price on the Internet
Be an informed buyer. A survey indicated that as much as 60% people do prior research before visiting a showroom to buy the vehicle of their choice. There are a number of portals available on the internet where from you can get a fair estimate for any used car based on the make, mode, year, and mileage. Compare this against the advertised price.
10) Take the Vehicle for a Pre-Purchase Inspection
In spite of all these precautions and strategies to avoid fraud, it is fairly difficult to assess the actual condition of the car. Especially if the buyer is not a big car enthusiast or has limited knowledge around cars. There are a number of things that a layman buyer won’t be able to identify with. In that case, it is recommended that you get the car inspected by an independent mechanic or get it Certified by a Car certification company.
Congratulations! You now have the information to make a well informed decision when buying a used car.
Every car listed with us goes through a gruelling 200 point thorough inspection done by our panel of automobile experts. Spinny Certification leaves no trace of doubt that the car listed is a healthy, dependable and a Quality car.