We’ve all heard the stories of people getting scammed in the purchase of a used car. You could pay much more for a car than it’s worth, or you might buy it only to have it break down weeks later. We want you to feel safe about purchasing a used car, and we’ll tell you how to take precautions before, after, and during the purchasing process. Hopefully next time you go to buy a used car you won’t have to deal with unexpected problems later on!
What To Do Before You Buy a Used Car
Before you contact a dealership for the car you want, check out a few used dealerships. Start by exploring their inventory for the car you want, then check their reviews. There is nothing more telling than wronged customers. Take it all with a grain of salt because not every car is going to be perfect, but if their bad reviews outweigh their good reviews, look elsewhere for your car.
Have you found a car that isn’t being sold by a dealership? The best course of action is to formally request a history of the car. The seller or dealership should be able to provide you with this, but make sure it’s not forged. They should have gotten their report from one of these sites:
Each of these should provide a full history of the car including previous owners, any accidents, and mechanical failures. Ask your seller for this before you offer to purchase the car. Once you have that report decide if you’d still like to purchase the car, then you can begin making arrangements with the seller.
What to Do During the Purchase of Your Used Car
When you arrive at the used car dealership or the seller’s home you can perform a cursory check of the car. You can look for body damage, take it for a test drive, and ask the seller about its history. Doing this can eliminate a lot of cars you look at just by finding obvious flaws. If you find nothing immediately wrong with the car, you can then take it to a mechanic.
Have a Mechanic Perform a Routine Check
Before you begin the process of signing paperwork and figuring out how much you’ll pay, it’s important that you know everything about the car’s current condition. Most dealerships and sellers will allow you to take the car into a mechanic to have them do a once-over of the car. Ask your seller if they’d like to come with you to perform this step, as they may get nervous about you driving off with their car.
The mechanic should be able to tell you if the car will have any immediate problems, and if the car has had any unreported problems in the past. Ask them to do a thorough job including looking at the transmission, lights, and interior. They will not be able to tell you much about the body of the car though, which is why you should take it to an auto body shop next.
Perform a Body Check
The final check you need to perform on a car is a body check. Depending on the extent of damage this could lower the value of the car, and could help you when bartering on price. To perform this inspection you can take the vehicle to an auto body shop and have them look it over, or you can do it yourself with just a notebook. Simply examine the car end to end for any damage and ask your dealer how each of them occurred. If they aren’t sure, take note and do a quick search online to see if this will diminish the value of the car.
A helpful tip when examining the body of the car is to see if any body damage is worth fixing yourself. Many dings can be buffed out, but minor dents will require an auto body shop to fix. This could be cheaper for you to pay to fix, and could raise the value of your car in the future.
How to Be a Good Buyer
You can feel safer before you begin discussing pricing by speaking with your preferred bank, coming with a downpayment, and making sure your credit is good enough for a loan. Now that you are completely positive that you’ve found a great car and everything will work for you, it’s time to barter. We’re not here to try to tell you how to converse with your dealer or seller but just like they might be willing to sell you a car that isn’t in tip-top shape, they might try to charge you more than it’s worth. You can visit NADA to determine how much a car of that year, make, model, and mileage is worth. Try to get your seller as close to that number as possible. You can sweeten the deal by offering to pay in cash or speed up the payment plan.
What to Do After You’ve Purchased a Used Car
This is perhaps the easiest part of the process. Now that you’ve got your perfect car, all you need to do is take care of it so you will be able to resell it! Taking care of your car is also important for your own sanity and safety. Follow these tips:
- Perform an oil change every 3,000 miles or about every three months.
- Repair damages as they happen, including windshield cracks, dings, and scratches.
- Rotate and change your tires every six months to optimize wear down.
- Clean your car regularly to remove paint-damaging salt, dirt, and more!
- Change the filters in your engine every six to 12 months.
- Check the manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedule. You can find yours depending on the make and model of your car.
And that’s it! Buying a used car doesn’t have to be a risk if you take the right precautions! Hopefully you can now go into your car-buying process with confidence and assurity that you’re doing the right thing.
Take Care of Your Used Car With Unique Auto Body
One of the most essential things to do during the life of any car is to take immediate action on any damages. This includes engine, transmission, and body of the car. At Unique we are equipped to handle all body repairs, and experienced in any kind of body repair you bring us. We have taken cars from near-total to looking like new again, and we are just as happy to remove and repair any minor scratches or dings. Please don’t hesitate to either bring your used car in for an inspection or for any repairs! Call us today at any of our three locations, or you can fill out our form with any questions. We are excited to get your used car looking brand new again!