Purchasing a used car can be a daunting experience filled with choices of private sellers, auctions and dealerships, but, equipped with the right information and guidance based on real-life scenarios, you can navigate this process with confidence. Here are essential tips to ensure you get the best deal without unnecessary hassles.
Read more article: 17 Question to Ask when buying a used car
Start your car buying journey with thorough research. A recent experience highlighted the importance of this when a buyer found herself looking at two unsatisfactory cars. One was in poor condition, while the other had concerning warning lights. To avoid such situations, always study both the dealer and the car’s history in advance and get as much information as possible, even before actually viewing the car. If a seller is non-communicative, evasive or delays replying or is hesitant in having a pre-purchase inspection done, be cautious.
Again, if a seller is pushy and says things like, “…you need to hurry, I have other buyers coming etc.”, this should generally be a warning. Get copies of service history in advance, and if not available or suspicious, keep looking. If the seller wants to meet in a random location, be careful. This usually means the seller does not want their home address disclosed, and is a warning sign. Also, for your own security, a random location may not be ideal.
2. Use Digital Platforms
Platforms like Carsales, Autotrader, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace can be invaluable for car buyers. By filtering your search according to budget, location, and other preferences, you can narrow down options quickly. For instance, if you’re keen on a Honda Accord, inputting this will display all available listings within your specified area and budget. You can create accounts and put in search lists and be notified when appropriate vehicles meeting these criteria are listed. Or if you have ‘saved’ vehicles, and updates to the listing will be notified.
3. Utilise Social Media
Facebook’s Marketplace is a thriving hub for buying and selling used cars. The platform often provides crucial details like mileage and expected price. An added benefit is that it sometimes shows a comparison between the asking price and the actual car value, offering buyers an insight into the deal’s fairness. Be careful though as there are many cases of scams on this platform, and sellers can quickly disappear and not be traceable and create new accounts. Many vehicles are legitimate and bargains can be had, but remember the old adage, “if something appears too good to be true, it usually is..” and unfortunately scam sellers realize, and now price their vehicles higher, so as not to appear ‘dodgy’.
4. Spotting Red Flags
Be cautious when a seller, identifying as a dealer, suggests meeting at a non-business location. This could indicate potential issues. Always ensure the car title matches the seller’s name. Any discrepancies might suggest problems like stolen vehicles or unauthorised sales. In real cases that we have seen, service book pages are missing so that potential km rollbacks are not apparent, many handwritten entries trying to replicate dealer stamps, fictitious business stamps (you can get a stamp made for $20-30 and populate a book to satisfy buyers), or genuine stamps used but all appear in same intensity with identical pen and handwriting populating many service book stamp areas.
Sellers claiming ‘books were lost/stolen etc..” is a warning. Lost books can be replaced and restamped IF legitimate owner is willing and dealers can support this, so if there are no books, keep looking, as this will also become an issue for you in future when it comes time to sell the car again in the future.
5. Avoid Pressure
Purchasing a vehicle is a significant decision. If you feel pressured into buying quickly or without due consideration, it might be a sign to step back. You should always have the time to assess the car thoroughly and make an informed decision.
6. Understand Dealer Fees
Dealerships may add both legitimate and hidden charges; therefore, stay informed about the fees associated with your purchase.. Being knowledgeable about these fees protects you from paying more than necessary. Don’t assume that all after-market warranties are equal and will cover ANY instances or defects. Read the terms and conditions and compare.
7. Pre-Purchase Inspection
It’s always wise to opt for a pre-purchase inspection before finalising your car deal. This examination ensures the vehicle’s condition matches the dealer’s description. Professional inspections, especially by those who offer on-site inspections, can provide peace of mind.
Find out why you should get a Pre-Purchase Car Inspection
8. Stay Updated
Knowledge is continually evolving. To ensure you’re always equipped with the most recent information, consider subscribing to informative channels or platforms and connecting with locals who have experience or interest in purchasing used automotive. This ongoing learning can position you to make the best decisions in your car-buying journey.
9. Seek Expertise
If ever in doubt, reach out to professionals or experts in the field. Many provide expert advice and address your concerns to make an informed decision during your purchase.
Ready to Make a Safer Decision?
To boost your confidence in the purchase, think about booking a pre-purchase inspection. This can help streamline and secure your decision-making process. Remember, making an informed choice is always wise. Rely on expert advice and a thorough inspection for a safer car-buying journey. German Precision is a trusted name in pre-loved car inspections down under. We’re committed to meeting your needs and ensuring you’re chuffed with the outcome. Got any questions?
Reach out to us! Start your journey with peace of mind today.