Tips when buying used cars from a dealership or private party

Buying a new vehicle is a major expense. More and more people are buying used cars and trucks as an alternative. Most people cannot afford exactly what they want buying new but can get the options and trimline they desire without the high cost of buying a new car. You can get a quality used vehicle at an affordable price especially these days as cars and trucks are built better and lasting longer.

Unlike purchasing a new vehicle you may want to have some different choices in mind. Finding a specific used vehicle with exactly every option that you want can be tough. You may find the perfect vehicle but not with the options that you want or you may find all the options that you want in another vehicle. No matter what you choose of course when buying used cars and trucks you want the most reliable vehicle possible. This is where online research comes into play and is very important.

For example, if you’re interested in a 1990 Honda Accord you will be bombarded with 17 years of information on this vehicle. Its reliability, durability, body integrity issues, engine or electrical problems, customer likes and dislikes and other things that can only be documented over time.

When buying used cars and trucks Kelley Blue Book is a great web site that offers as much information as you can handle on used cars including reports, consumer reviews, and specifications.

When you have an idea of the vehicle or vehicles that you are interested in plus options, trimline, color etc. you can begin searching. This is the fun part, well for some excited automobile seekers. There are many resources for buying used cars and trucks including newspapers, auto sales magazines from your local supermarket and of course, the Internet. When using the Internet we suggest typing in the search engine used cars or find used cars. You can also have success by typing in the year, make and model of the vehicle of your choice. Many of the web sites have pictures and detailed information on the vehicle advertised for sale. Most of these sites allow you to narrow your search by choosing the year, make, model, trimline, ZIP code and the distance in miles from your home that you’d like to search for a vehicle. Trial and error and a lot of patience should be expected.

As you proceed with your research the next big question you need to ask yourself is if you prefer to purchase the vehicle from a dealership or private party. When buying used cars or trucks there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

When buying used cars from a dealership you can choose from Certified Used Vehicles

and many other vehicles that may have limited warranties. Check with the salesman or check the window sticker to find out if the vehicle you are looking at comes with a warranty or is being sold “as is”. A dealership also provides financing options. As discussed in this web site you need to be careful when financing through a dealership. If you’ve done your research and know your credit score financing through the dealership can be a time-saving tool. Some dealerships even offer a limited time return policy when buying used cars and trucks as well as a warranty of merchantability. This is an implied warranty than simply states that the vehicle will operate as intended which basically means that the vehicle will “run”. A disadvantage though is that the salesman’s job is to sell. Be mindful of this and make sure that you try to stick to the vehicle that you have researched. If you see something else you like go the back home and research it. Make sure it still fits your original budget. The sales tactic will be to tell you what a great vehicle you’re passing on and that it will not last. Don’t fall for it. If you need a day or two to do some more research do it. Unless it’s the deal of the century, don’t feel pressured.

Sometimes there are vehicles on a dealers lot that are difficult to sell. Selling a sport-utility vehicle can be difficult in July. Many people shopping for vehicles just aren’t in cold snowy SUV state of mind than the longer the vehicle sits around a lot more money it costs the dealership. These vehicles often referred to as being on the “hot list”. The salesman may be more inclined to make a deal, sometimes a great deal, on this type of vehicle. If you suspect a vehicle that you’re interested in to be on the “hot list” offer a lower price than the fair price that you have researched. If the answer is no it may be best to thank the salesman for his or her help and be on your way. If the vehicle is on the “hot list” you can bet that before you even make it to your car the salesman will get your offer accepted. If not the dealership has your information and it is almost guaranteed that they will call you back concerning the vehicle. Remember, there is no shortage of used vehicles.  If you have a used vehicle you want to sell, sometimes getting the most cash for your car happens outside the dealership, from a private party or used car buying service.

Buying used cars, through a private party can save you money as opposed to a dealership. At the dealership they will be more likely to stay close to the book value whereas purchasing from a private party there may be more room to haggle. Many times people need to sell their vehicles quickly or sometimes just want to take the first or second best deal to eliminate the day in and day out hassle of having someone come to their house to look at the vehicle. Is very much works to your advantage. You may also be able to acquire vehicle history records of repair and maintenance that would not be available to you when purchasing from a dealership. The downside to purchasing from a private party is that the vehicle truly is sold “as is”. They’re usually never a warranty unless it is a fairly new vehicle and there is a transferable bumper-to-bumper warranty. For this reason it is best to have the vehicle looked over by a certified mechanic. Remember, buying used cars and trucks doesn’t have to be a gamble. You can get a quality vehicle that can be as nice and as reliable as a brand new vehicle without breaking the bank.

The test drive

Before you even start the engine here are some important things to look for when buying used cars and trucks:

– Are all buttons, switches and knobs in working order devoid of cracks and other damage?
– Are seat belts in good working condition? (when safe to do so, stop short to make sure seatbelts lock)
– Are seats comfortable? Are manual and power controls that adjust seats in good working condition?
– Are carpets, seats and headliners clean and in acceptable shape?
– Are mirrors, windshield wipers, emergency brake, headlights, turn signals, brake lights and interior lights in good working condition?
– Is airbag or check engine light illuminated?
– Does the radio work, as well as the DVD player, CD player/changer, cassette player and PlayStation/Xbox work?
– Is there excessive wear on the tires or other damage such as cracks or splits?
– Are there puddles of fluid in the driveway or on the dealer’s lot where the vehicle was parked?
– When looking under the hood is there excessive dirt and grime on the engine?

Finally it’s time to take the vehicle for a spin. Here are some more important things look for:

– Does the vehicle start easily?
– When test driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission does it shift smoothly during acceleration?
– When test driving a vehicle with a manual transmission are all gears easy to shift into without any unusual noise or hesitation?
– Is the clutch easy to engage also without any unusual noise or hesitation?
– Does the vehicle idle steadily when stopped at a red light?
– Does the vehicle have good acceleration, especially when merging into highway traffic?
– Does the vehicle pull to one side? (This may indicate a problem with the vehicle’s alignment)
– Are the brakes strong and free from any squeaking, vibration or grinding?
– Are the air-conditioning, heat, and cruise control working properly?
– Do all doors, windows, moonroofs and sunroofs close properly? (Listen for wind noise and feel for cold air while vehicle is in motion)
– Is there any smoke coming from the exhaust pipe?

Another great way to protect yourself when buying used cars and trucks is to purchase Carfax Vehicle History Report

By providing the VIN (vehicle identification number) for a small fee carfax provides information on reported accidents the vehicle has been involved in as well as any fire and flood damage. There links consist of problem check, odometer check, registration check and title check. There are also free services such as lemon check.

Congratulations you’ve found a great deal on a car or truck! Just a few more things to take into consideration. The great thing about purchasing from a dealership is that other than providing financing, insurance coverage and of course the check, the dealership’s finance department will handle all of the legal documents. Just remember to read over the paperwork before signing anything. Also file all paperwork including anything regarding warranty coverage in a safe place.

When buying used cars and trucks from a private party contact your local DMV via telephone or the Internet to find out about the necessary paperwork needed. Always get the sellers information just in case there are any problems down the road.

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