Part I – Used Car buying Tips
We are always looking to help potential car buyers make the right decision and ask the right questions when looking at a vehicle. Before scheduling an appointment with us, we suggest asking a few of the questions below to get a better idea of the vehicle your are going to be purchasing.
Many of these questions will help you make the decision whether to move onto the getting the car inspected by us prior to arranging the purchase of the vehicle. We suggest you ask the following questions, and make notes of all the answers in order to better understand the vehicle, history, service schedule and type of owner it has been in the hands of.
- Title: Does the vehicle have a “Clean” or “Clear” title? Many sellers will say that the vehicle has a title, but you want to know if it has a “CLEAN” title. Although having a clean title doesn’t mean its perfect or never been in an accident/collision, it will help weed out cars that have “Rebuilt”, “Recon”, “Reconstructed”, “Marked”, “Branded”, “Brand on the Title”, “Salvage”, etc. All these title types just mentioned means that the Car has been in a Severe accident and has been declared a “Total Loss” by the Insurance company, thus being sold through a Salvage Auction. These vehicles will normally be priced very low and aggressively, which catches the eye of my buyers who are looking to get deals. We avoid all vehicles with titles that are Not “Clean” titles. Many times these vehicles have been repaired with discounted auto parts and low-cost labor, resulting in sub-par repairs and lower quality finishes.
- Title in Owners Name?: Ask the owner if the Title is their name or their spouses name. If it is not, You are probably dealing with a Curb Dealer, or someone who buys and sells cars to make profit and is not looking to always sell the best car, but rather to make the most profit. Always ask to see the physical Title and match it to the owners Drivers license to ensure they are truly the owner. If they do not want to comply with a minor request like seeing the title and their drivers license, then you know they’re hiding something. You will to eventually see their drivers license for the bill of sale, so why not show it to you now? There are Always exceptions to this rule. We have seen many times people are selling vehicles for their In-laws, grand parents etc. Make sure you do your diligence when encountering one of these sellers. We’ve seen good cars and bad cars. Sometimes there will be a diamond in the rough, that’s why an Car Inspection should follow.
- Service Records: If you have arrived to this step, and the previous 2 steps check out, now its time to ask for all Service Records that the owner has for the vehicle. Many times car owners will lose or misplace these records and say they have to “dig them up”. This is usually false, but sometimes checking the Carfax report of a vehicle will bring up service records if they have maintained the vehicle through a local certified Mechanic or Car dealership. If they cannot provide records, but say they have done all the maintenance through a mechanic, you can also Call the Mechanic who worked on the vehicle and ask if the vehicle has been serviced through them because you are interested in purchasing the vehicle.
- Visual Inspection: Another step we recommend is to visually inspect the vehicle. Bring a flash light with you when looking at a vehicle. This will help you look under the vehicle to see if the car is leaking any liquids. If the car is leaking Oil, water or Radiator fluid, this vehicle needs Service. Unless you want to buy a vehicle that needs additional repairs, we suggest you move onto the next vehicle. A Visual inspection will help you see Obvious problems with the car.
These are all steps every car buyer should take when going to see a Vehicle for the first time. There are other steps we recommend as well and we’ll be discussing those in upcoming articles. If you have gone through the above steps and everything looks legitimate and the seller has complied and happily answered all your questions, its time to Schedule a Car inspection and we’ll come out to do a Thorough Pre-Purchase inspection.