With the overwhelming rate of depreciation on new cars, and the huge selection of bargains, previously owned cars are the ideal investment in money savings. But there are key elements the consumer must be on the look out for, so that he/she can make a sound purchase without having to deal with the pitfalls of buying a turkey. Here are five simple tips to concentrate on when selecting that used automobile.
1-My car is a rental huh? The argument can be made (mostly by the sales consultants) that a well taken care of previous rental, is a smart choice. Those guys will try to upsell you on the idea that they love having those cars, mainly for the reason that rental companies have such an outstanding service record with maintenance. But the pure question is…how did you treat your last rental? There are some great drivers out there, but let’s be honest, the vast majority of them take lousy care of those rentals for the duration. Therefore, putting lots of strain and wear on the most expensive mechanical parts. I have personally been a witness to, a great deal of rental dogs out there. Aside from this, there is an enormous rate of depreciation on these cars, dealers can easily check a Carfax for the registration history and hammer your trade in values. What should you look for? First of all, do a Carfax check, made payable by the dealer of course, it details all previous ownership using DMV records. Those documents are really reliable. And inspect the car, check for rental decals under the hood, in the door jambs (where the vin/paint codes are located), look for those „no smoking caps“ on the 12v power outlets, and also check the owner’s manual for a rental car decal designation. Now, you wouldn’t have to make guesswork as to whether or not you have a genuine rental on your hands.
2-My car has a star or smiley decal on it, what’s the significance? Those cool little decals we spot on windshields mean a lot more to the dealer than just making the consumer, warm and fuzzy. It is designated to dealers as their „hit cars“. To them, it’s autos that were specifically targeted for immediate sale. Normally, any car that has a decal, is more than likely is an aged unit. Keep in mind, if a car has been on the lot for 90 days, it would seem like they really are willing to deal on em…not so. Pre-owned cars are the money makers in the dealerships stable, they will not sacrifice profit if they know there’s a way to snake the consumer. Aged cars have been around for a while, neglected, tired (imagine a car not moving in three months?), and unwanted, so why get hooked by the perceived value? Additionally, there’s no chance to get a great price on these, because book values have dropped on a three month old car. Therefore, aged units have had a terrible resale value and are a maintenance nightmare.
3-My car didn’t start on the test drive, should I be worried? You bet you should! Dead batteries can come from anything. If a car hasn’t been started in a while, there’s a good chance it has a dead battery. A car’s alternator is directly responsible for recharging the battery during normal usage. If the battery is dead, there might be supplemental problems with the ignition and battery charging system. And you know the car hasn’t been started on a regular basis. A truly unworthy endeavor that can cost the owner thousands of dollars in repairs, avoid if possible.
4-Squeeks, leaks, and rattles. Yeah I know, it’s too be expected as automobiles wear out over time. But let’s get to the point. If your suspension makes a lot of noise when you drive, this can be a costly fix going well into the thousands. I’ve had to personally repair bushings, control arms, and rear links on my newly purchased2004 Tahoe 4WD, these cost me over $1500! Mechanics are not cheap by nature, so obviously repairing such items will make the consumer’s head spin. The same can be said for leaks and rattles. If you have an oil or coolant leak, it’s expensive. Also if your steering column rattles and is loose, it’s expensive. If its a must have automobile, twist the dealers‘ arm into fixing the problems and you should be A-OK. Keep in mind, it’s your money they want you to spend there and now, you have the ultimate power of the word…NO.
5-And finally, if the desk manager is constantly pointing at the car you SHOULD buy, then don’t. It’s real simple, dealerships are conditioned to enhance their bottom line. So they’ll want to sell the most profitable cars on the lot, even at the cost of upsetting the consumer’s wants and needs. Nine times out of ten, the buyer would not even like the chosen car, nor would they be caught dead driving it. You have done the research, and spent the time driving the favorites, buy the car you’ll be happy seeing in the driveway for years to come. Think, and don’t make the hasty decisions.
I hope I was able to educate and give some good buying tips. Purchasing such an expensive good should not be without all of the important consumer information. These tips are easy to implement, even for the inexperienced. And best of all, it’s all about using basic common sense and judgement.