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4 Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a Used Car

When it comes time to purchase a new car, many consumers look at the used vehicle market. Purchasing a used car is a great way to save money and yet still get something that is perfect for your needs and wants. It’s no secret that a new vehicle is one of the fastest-depreciating items you can purchase. Simply driving it off the new car lot will result in a decrease in value. So, from an investment point of view, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

But before you jump right in, there are some common pitfalls to be aware of when purchasing a used car. Being aware of these will ensure you make an informed purchase.

Not Doing a Proper Inspection on the Car

When checking out a used car in person, it may look great at first glance, with the body in great condition and the inside looking like new, but that isn’t a complete picture. You need to look much closer, paying special attention to all the details. These details are the things that could potentially cost you money in repairs/replacement once you purchase the car.

You want to check over the engine and look at the condition of the tires, making sure they have enough tread depth. Also, look out for loud sounds, knocking sounds and sputtering (a sense that the vehicle may stall). The vehicle should also be smooth to steer, and the brakes should feel in good working order.

During the test drive, also make sure you take it on a variety of different roads. You want to see how the vehicle performs at slow and fast speeds, on flat surfaces and hills. Don’t rush through the test drive; give it a good run so nothing is missed.

It’s also worth having the car checked by a trusted mechanic, as they may be able to identify red flags you weren’t aware of. The inspection will cost money but just think of the headache it could potentially save you from.

Not Being Aware of Fair Market Value

Another common pitfall is overpaying for a used car simply because you don’t know what the fair market value is. Always do your research before making a purchase, looking at what the fair market value is for the make, model and year of the car you’re eyeing. You can then use this information when negotiating the price with the salesperson.

A Vehicle History Report Can Uncover All Kinds of Things

You’ll also want to look at the vehicle history report. This report can reveal such things as the number of previous owners, whether the car has been in any accidents, and more. This can be done through services such as AutoCheck and CARFAX.

Not Purchasing from a Reputable Dealer

Be sure to also purchase from a reputable dealer that backs up their product/vehicles. It should be a dealer that has made a positive name for itself and is known for selling quality cars. You can look at this dealer — they import Japanese cars — and you’ll get a sense of what it looks like to have a solid reputation.

You can also do some research online looking at customer reviews and ratings of various dealers. While it’s best to take reviews with a grain of salt, if you see many mentioning the same red flags, chances are there is some truth to it.

Being aware of each of these common pitfalls will help you not only find a fabulous used car but also find one that is in excellent shape and fits your budget perfectly. Being a smart and informed shopper doesn’t have to be difficult. 

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