Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ten Things to Avoid When Purchasing a Used Vehicle

Purchasing a used vehicle can be full of uncertainties unless you take some precautions and make a well-thought out decision based on an intelligent assessment of the risks. Sometimes, a little luck and good fortune will find you a vehicle that suits your needs and your budget from someone you already know and trust. Most often though, people purchasing used vehicles have a limited budget, can't afford to pay some of the higher monthly loan premiums and are thumbing through sales ads, newspapers and automotive publications to search for their used wheels. This isn't necessarily the end of the world; many solid deals can be found for the right price with some astute advice and skilful bargaining practises.
Here are a few pearls of wisdom to help you discriminate between a fast-talking sales pitch and genuine gently used vehicle:
- don't take the seller's word for the condition of the vehicle; test drive it, take it to your trusted mechanic or ask a friend with mechanical expertise to evaluate it
- check the year, make and condition of the vehicle with the Kelly's black book value (or equivalent for your country) and make sure you are not paying more than what it is worth
- don't use your current vehicle to reduce the price of the used one; you won't get the full value for it unless you sell it in as an independent transaction
- don't let the seller know that you like the vehicle; they will play on your emotions and use it to sell you the vehicle for the highest price, often overlooking some of its faults
- don't go shopping alone if you are not mechanically savvy; the seller will pick up on this and use it to their advantage
- don't use the financing offered to you by the used car dealership; their interest rates are triple what a line of credit at a bank would be
- do your research; check online resources and the government website for licensing; they will have links you can follow to expand your knowledge of common pitfalls of certain vehicles and tips for finding a reliable product
- check to make sure that the vehicle identification numbers from the engine casing, transmission, frame and dashboard match; if they don't or if they are missing, it could mean the vehicle has been stolen
- check for automotive or bodywork filling compounds around the wheel wells, sill plates windows, bumpers and fenders; it could mean that much of the rough shape has been hastily and cosmetically covered up by a backyard mechanic or that the vehicle has been in an accident; rarely does a car or truck continue to be reliable after an accident
- do take the car through a car wash; if a lot of water finds its way into the vehicle, don't buy it
- do avoid really cheap vehicles; if they aren't worth that much money to sell, they probably aren't worth fixing
Finally, follow the old adage, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Keep the money you have and move on to a better vehicle.

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