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Best Warranty Car – Shopping for cars can be stressful, but shopping for used cars may even be more difficult.
While used cars tend to be cheaper, they come with a lot of potential pitfalls. What is the history of the vehicle? Is it broken? Has it been properly treated?
Better Business Bureau recently released some tips on how to buy used cars. News Leaders collect that information with recommendations from used car dealers.
BBB highlights some things to do before buying any car, new or used: set a budget, research model, compare prices, choose a warranty and know how you will pay for the car.
Where to buy your car
Even more than with a new vehicle, you have many choices where to buy used cars.
New and used car dealers usually sell used vehicles that have been checked closely. Sometimes they offer a guarantee, too, that you will not get from a personal seller.
BBB advises to check the reputation and reliability of the dealer before you even go to the dealer. Ask friends for recommendations, read business profiles on bbb.org and search online for complaints or reviews from dealers you are considering.
Dealers can also offer used car programs that are “certified”. It offers vehicles that have previously been leased or traded. Dealers offer different certification programs with different qualifications and details about the inspections and other steps they take. Contact your local dealer for more information.
Christopher King, owner of Queen City Motors, says to make sure that the dealer you are on is on board and that the car you are considering purchasing comes with a Carfax report, which is a vehicle history report providing information on maintenance and service records, prior ownership and data from insurance companies covering accident history.
Source Queen City Motors uses cars from other dealers, auctions and car rental companies, King said. Then the service department completes a front-to-back check on the vehicle to make sure everything is going well. They also drive a car and make sure it passes the inspection, and they connect it with the code reader to see if there is any electrical code stored on the car’s computer. If there is a problem, they fix it before getting car details.
Car rental companies will often sell cars from their fleets. They can provide car maintenance and repair records and offer limited guarantees. The mileage on the rental car is often high, and the cars may suffer from damage that comes from the use by many drivers. But car rental companies are diligent in caring for their cars.
Banks and loan companies sometimes sell foreclosed cars to pay off bad loans. The quality varies from car to car, but since the vehicle is being sold to get back the amount to be paid on the loan, you may get a good deal.
Government, private, and online vehicle auctions are also gaining in popularity. If you buy at auction, remember that you may need a prepayment, a rare guarantee, and you probably will not be able to pick up the car for inspection before you buy it.
Private owners sell their cars through websites, newspaper classifieds, and word-of-mouth. You may find a well maintained car at a lower cost than you pay the dealer, without pressure from the salesperson. If you buy a used car from a private owner, ask for maintenance records and car repairs. If the seller is the first owner, you must also request a record of the original purchase. Check the title to make sure the person selling the car is the rightful owner.
You also need to be extra cautious when dealing with a personal seller because it might be easier for someone to run a contract. Fake dealers can disguise themselves as individual sellers and offer stolen or damaged cars or those who have their odometers rolled back to hide mileage.
The main difference between the personal seller and the other is the Buyer’s Guide. The Rules of the Used Car The Federal Commission states that the dealer must post the Buyer’s Guide to every used car for sale. Sellers selling more than five used cars a year should provide a Buyer’s Guide. Banks and financial institutions do not. Businesses that sell vehicles to employees and lessors who sell rental vehicles to specific buyers are also released.
The Buyer’s Guide contains information on major mechanical and electrical system problems and suggests that vehicles be inspected by your mechanic before purchase. The Buyer’s Guide also tells you whether the car is sold “as is” or comes with a warranty (and warranty terms). If the box “as is” is checked in the Buyer’s Guide, you have no guarantee. If the warranty box is checked, ask for a copy of the warranty and review it before you agree to buy a car.
Do your homework
There are many online resources to check the average retail price of different used car brands and models, depending on the year they are out and the number of miles they drive, such as the Kelley Blue Book website.
Remember this price when you shop and negotiate. Online resources and publications can provide you with information about the reliability records of various models, as well.
The king says that the biggest red flag to watch out for is the lack of vehicle history reports. If you ask Carfax or take the vehicle to a mechanic, the dealer must approve it. If you feel reluctant, go.
In addition, the King said to be careful of those who sell cars on social media or Craigslist and those who want to meet you somewhere. There’s a reason people are selling cars unofficially.
At the dealership, says King, most people can get feelings for sellers and if they’re open and transparent. He says to be careful of salespeople who are trying to waste your time or dragging the process so they can knock you down.
“There are a lot of dealers who will get people at the dealership and then hide the ball as far as the price, while they are trying to get their approval,” King said. “They may be there for four, five, six hours, and tired people, they take them to the finance office, and sometimes people sign up for things they might not have.”
Inspection and test drive
When a car is sold “as is,” there is no guarantee. Once you’ve signed the document and left, the seller has no responsibility anymore, so try to find out as much as you can about the condition of the car before you buy it.
Do not expect perfection in a used car, but do not ignore the serious flaw. Some sellers are adept at masking problems, and steam-cleaned engines and sparkling paint jobs are not an indication of car quality. Check the car during the day, and take someone to help you conduct a thorough checkup.
After going through a visual inspection, take the car for a test drive. If the dealer does not let you go to drive, you should consider leaving.
Drive on multiple terrains in your test drive, including highways, backroads and through traffic.
Pay special attention to the odometer, which tracks the miles of cars it has driven. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that consumers are losing billions of dollars a year to odometer fraud. Odometer readings can be re-scrolled or documents can be faked. Making miles disappear helps increase the value of cars and can mean increased maintenance and repair costs.
The average vehicle accumulates about 12,000 miles per year, according to BBB. If mileage looks too high or low when compared, find out why.
Ask the seller if you can see maintenance records and compare them to the distance on the odometer itself.
King said if you find the car you want to buy and have the time and ability, you should always have a mechanic check the vehicle. This is an additional cost, but this is very important because there may still be issues you did not find.
Ask for a cost estimate in writing to fix any problems found mechanically, and use that estimate as a bargaining tool when you make an offer for the car.
History of cars and recall
Ask the seller for a copy of the service record for the car. If possible, talk to the previous owner about any accidents or problems.
Once you have selected the car you want to buy, get a history report. Copy the Vehicle Identification Number, located on the driver’s side dashboard near the window or at the driver’s side door. Make sure all VINs are identical. With VIN, you can get vehicle history reports that let you check car titles.
For a small fee, the National Motor Vehicle Ownership Information System offers information on vehicle titles, odometer data, and specific damage history.
You also want to be noticed to save and rebuild the title. These titles are issued by the state when the car is damaged due to one or more incidents. The rescue title is issued by the state when the insurance company owns the vehicle because of a claim. This usually happens when the vehicle is declared a total loss. The rebuilt title can be issued if the vehicle is damaged and rebuilt or reconstructed, then placed back on the road. The title of trash is issued when the vehicle can not be titled again in that state.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau maintains a free database covering flood damage and other vehicle information.
The Department of Transportation operates a toll-free Safety Vehicle hotline – 800-424-9393 – and a website where you can find out if a particular vehicle was ever withdrawn for a security flaw. For deaf people, that number is 1-800-424-9153.
Closing the deal
Before you sign anything, be sure to understand what is in the contract.
Asking question. Do not sign it unless you are satisfied with the answer.
Make sure that all empty space is filled, that all verbal promises of the seller are included, and any warranty given with the car is spelled.
If the seller agrees to take care of any repairs as a condition of purchase, make sure this commitment is in the contract. Get a time frame for completing the repair in writing and make sure you understand who to contact about the job. Remember that repairs to used vehicles may take longer than expected when spare parts need to be ordered or warranty repairs must be approved.
If you are required to make a deposit, ask if it is refundable and under what circumstances, and make sure the information is also included in the contract.
Be sure to get a signed statement to verify the mileage at the time of sale.
Make sure you understand what will happen if you are late paying the payment and how the seller will communicate with you about it.