Many of us have a negative impression about buying secondhand cars. Secondhand or used cars usually have minor damages such as dents and leaks, but there are some used cars that still have a fresh look and are generally well-maintained. Used car owners have many reasons for selling their cars, some of them due to financial problems, model upgrade, fuel inefficiency, unsatisfactory performance, etc. And for buyers, buying secondhand or used cars is a huge advantage for those who know how to choose ideal cars and get a great deal for a fraction of the price. Being a car dealer, here's my advice on how to buy used cars.
- Decide what type of vehicle you want. Deciding vehicle type is the most basic step in buying a brand new or a used car. You should consider some things like:
- What is your car for? Is it for your family, business, off-road or racing?
- If it's for your family, consider the number of persons that can fit in your car.
- If it's for business, a pick-up truck is the perfect vehicle. Pick-up trucks are considered practical vehicles due to their loading capabilities.
- For off-road or adventurous buyers, off-road vehicles such as jeeps, 4x4 SUVs, 4x4 pick-up trucks and Hummers are commonly used for this purpose.
- If you are a speed and adrenaline addict, a sport car or a muscle car is the perfect vehicle for you. There are various kinds of powerful cars available in car dealers' display rooms nowadays. You can choose from Japanese, European and American cars.
- Do some price research. Price research before purchase is a wise man's move. Lack of price knowledge will lead to buying an overpriced or expensive car. For some price info, use the web for price updates. You can also visit your local bank that accepts car loans for inquiries on car value.
- Do some vehicle specification research. Do some research on vehicle specification and determine if it satisfies your standards and needs. Doing this will prevent regrets.
- DOUBLE-CHECK vehicle documents. ALWAYS check a vehicle's documents, such as registration, insurance and ownership. Vehicle registration should be under the owner's name and must be registered. Buying an unregistered vehicle is very risky. Many vehicles, especially in some Asian countries, are sold unregistered or with no papers at all. Carnapping is very rampant in some Asian countries and buying these kinds of vehicles will give us a headache. To avoid these problems, be sure that registration is up-to-date and under the recent owner's name. For imported vehicles, always check for clearance documentation and have it checked by your local transportation agencies.
- Check the vehicle's exterior. The vehicle's exterior or the outer part of the vehicle are the easiest to check or inspect. We usually check paint scratches and body dents. However, we have more things at the exterior to inspect. We should check all the hinges and edges for rust. Hinges should be free from squeaking sounds or rust-produced squeaking sounds at the hinges' pins. This means hinges' pins or the hinges themselves need to be replaced. Also check for rust on the vehicle. These kinds of minor damage indicate lapses in basic car maintenance and can give you an advantage in negotiating for a lower price.
- Check the vehicle's interior. The vehicle's interior must be satisfying to us. We are using the interior 100% of our time while driving, so this should be very clean and presentable. Check for seat damage and worn-out carpets. Panels and the dashboard should be intact.
- Run the engine and check for leaks. The engine is the most important part to be checked seriously. This should be in A-1 condition, no leaks and running smoothly. Rev it a couple of times and check for unusual smoke coming out from the exhaust. Also check for irregular noise coming from the engine.
- Test drive. Test drive the car for your final decision before closing a deal. Turn off the radio and feel the comfort of the ride. The steering should be smooth, not hard to steer, and the same goes for the shifter. Try to make it to a rough road and feel for some rattles. Rattles are the result of a worn-out suspension bushing, which will need to be changed.
- Make your decision. Making a decision on buying a car needs your full attention. You should evaluate any problems regarding the vehicle you inspect. Some minor problems such as dents and minor rust can be manageable. However, if the vehicle has major damage and is significantly overpriced, keep looking. Try to check as many vehicles as you can before deciding.
Once you've found the used car of your dreams, I wish you happy driving.