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What to Look for When Buying a Used Vehicle

Mar 13, 2008
2 Points to Be Wary of when Buying Your Next Used Car

Buying a used car can be a tricky business at best. There are so many factors to take into account, such as the reputation of the car lot that you are considering purchasing from, the past of the car, and the final price after interest rates. Nevertheless, when you carve away all of the long term concerns and narrow your focus down to what you need to know when actually picking the right car, it can be a fairly simple process if you know what to take into account.

The Salesman You might think that you are a good judge of character, but it is best to toss that whole assumption aside when shopping for a used car. The car lot salesmen are professionals in their trade. They know how to make a bad deal sound good and to convince you that a piece of junk is a worthwhile investment. They have to be good at it, as it is their living. You see, car salesmen do not get paid by the amount of hours that they work each week. They get paid a commission on a sale.

With that in mind, one can make a safe assumption that this individual will toss out one lie after another to get your money, so he can get his. It is best to not even include the salesman in your process until you have actually picked out the car you want. Of course, he will be there, following you around, but you can either ignore him or ask him to let you look around on your own and that you will come and get him when you are ready.

The History of Your Car There are various ways in which you can find out the history of your car if you have the VIN number. You can even check it online. Nevertheless, in the past the records of some cars have been doctored to make them more appealing. Thus it is important to know what to look for when looking at the vehicle. First, understand that a large amount of vehicles that used car lots sell are buy backs from the manufacturers or insurance companies. They have been damaged and repaired for resale at a cheaper price.

One of the more common is the flood-damaged vehicle. It is extremely important to watch out for this, as flood damaged cars can have long term issues due to the flood damage. These issues may not show up for some time, allowing the salesmen time to move them before the problems begin. The way to tell if your prospective car is flood damaged is to get down in the front floorboard on the drivers side and look up under the panels to the area around the steering column. If there is a lot of rust in this area, then it is likely flood damaged. Another clue to this is the wheel wells. Look at the areas just inside the fender wells. If these areas have been painted with spray paint, then the odds are that the car lot did this in order to cover rust. Paint does not stop the rusting process, so this is a temporary cure.
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