Buying your first, second, even third car is always nice – even when it’s a used one. But, there are many horror stories about used cars. A quick search online will provide you with tons of complaints from people who were ripped off or people who thought they were buying cars but drove off the lot with a proverbial lemon.
Usually, the victims of shady used car salesmen are first time buyers who don’t know anything about used cars, what to look for, and what to consider before making that purchase. This is why we have created this article, so you can avoid falling into the same trap. So, what are the things you need to think about before buying that used car?
1 – The Engine is More Important than the Body
This is the number one reason so many people get ripped off every single day. They see a used car that “looks” really nice and think they’re getting a bargain. However, many forget that the body is not the most important part of the car: the engine is.
You can have a beat-up jalopy that runs just fine, and a sleek looking car that will start giving you problems minutes after driving it off the lot. So, examine the engine and make sure there’s nothing wrong with it.
Many used cars are either formerly wrecked cars that were purchased from car auctions, repaired, and placed on the market or genuine cars with little or no faults. ALWAYS go to a mechanic or an experienced car owner. They know what to look for and can easily tell of the car you like is a fluke.
2 – Your Commuting Habits
Will you be doing a lot of driving within the city or travelling a lot? This will often determine the kind of engine you need to look for. V4 cylinder engines are generally perfect for short commutes such as those within town and tend to save more fuel.
V6 cylinder engines on the other hand are best for longer commutes. If you were to use that within the city, you’ll end up spending more on gas and underutilizing the engine – a situation that could potentially affect the engine negatively. So, choose your car based on your commuting needs.
3 – Always Take Your Income into Consideration
One of the few things worse than living without a car in an area with lousy public transportation is running out of gas on the road because you couldn’t afford it or having your car breakdown while you’re on your way to a job interview. Yes, you must consider your budget and living expenses in your purchase. Cars aren’t assets. They need constant maintenance and will cost you money over time. So, if you are barely scraping buy and have saved every penny to buy the used car, you better be sure that you’ll be able to maintain the car.
4 – Don’t Take the First Car You’re Shown
Unless you’ve done your homework and already know exactly what you’re after, never take the very first car you’re shown. Always compare prices, the salesperson, facilities and options. Always look for alternative options. Most used car salesmen are trained to give you the least attractive options first and then graduate to the better options if you refuse.
5 – Look Out for Rolled Back Odometers
Many used car salesmen have tools that they’ll use to roll back the odometer. They do this because high mileage cars (over 120k miles) are typically looked down upon and don’t get very good rates. Rolling back the odometer helps improve the car’s market value. Do NOT take the salesman’s word for it or accept the mileage you see on the odometer. Get the car’s VIN number and have it checked by your mechanic.
Lastly, make sure there’s a vehicle history report. This will help you see the various issues the car must have had in the past. This report will include previous owner history, past accidents, title issues and service points. If after considering all these, it all checks out, you’re good. You can go ahead and purchase the car. Congratulations on your new car and best of luck.
Oscar King is a resident of Plano, Texas who has worked in used car sales for over a decade, and now writes about the tricks he has learned to help consumers get an edge. For those needing a good mechanic after a purchase, he highly recommends Linear Automotive Repair. You can learn more about Oscar’s work by visiting his Google+.