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Buying second hand car could be bargain, if you know these tips

Old fashioned second hand expensive cars for sale

Buying a used car could be a real bargain, because even if the vehicle is not brand new, still there are many benefits. I will mention a few advantages. These are the hassle, the price, the fees, and a couple of more advantages.

Getting a used vehicle has some similarities with purchasing a new one from a car dealer — still, there some details which are not entirely the same. Apart from the deals people do for investment in expensive, old fashioned limos from the second world war period, buying a modern second-hand car can still be a bargain. Of course, this is valid in case you are well aware of what is essential to check and look at.

When you search online for used cars for sale, you might get lost among the thousands of ads and offers. No matter if your choice is a car, truck or an SUV there are some important matters to know before you buy a car, which is not brand new. What things you must look at and what you should know before you sign a contract with an AutoTrader?

 

The Essential Tips to know if you plan to buy a Used Car

1. Find your Brand

Before you run through the long list of used cars for sale, you probably would like to think about your favorite car brands. No matter if you choose a prestigious or reliable brand or both, the choice of a brand, is the same as when you plan to buy a new car. It’s a personal choice.

If you don’t have enough experience as a car owner or this would be your first used car to buy, it certainly worth to do these things first. Visiting and digging deeply into used car websites, auto forums, online auto magazines and the car review sites worth the efforts. This research is useful because there is plenty of information, which can be helpful if you still wonder what to be your choice.

Believing or not- having the right info at the right time can save you plenty of money in the future, especially when it comes to buying a car which is second hand. But how about if you have already made a choice and have selected your preferred brand?

2. Select between different models

Apart from the above, the range of used vehicles is vast. Finding the right pre-owned car in bulk is just as tricky as finding the needle in a haystack. Before you make an effort to visit individual dealers and auto traders, it is worthwhile to get a brief overview of what do you plan to buy. Which car models are suitable for you or your family? Maybe your choice depends on the trunk size or fuel consumption? Don’t forget about the maintenance cost, because this is one of the most important things when it comes to choosing the brand and the model of your car.

Bear in mind, even if your choice about the brand is clear and there is no second option in your list with favorites, it still worth to check the opinions about a particular model. There are many cases where a reliable brand has failed with a single model.

For this reason, additional information about the brand you have selected would be super beneficial, because it might save you a bunch of money in the future, at least. In brief-checking, the opinions of the others on one of the many auto review sites and car related forums should not be underestimated. Take your time and do thorough research, before any purchase.

3.The Color

The color of the car is one of the things which matter and often determines our final choice, regardless if the car we plan to buy is brand new or second-hand one. When choosing the car’s color to think about how practical is it.

Cars in darker colors usually require more intensive and frequent maintenance and cleaning. In general silver and silver metallic colors are among the most practical ones. Furthermore, you can’t go wrong with most shades of gray and other light colors. As a rule of the thumb car colors such as black, dark blue, dark red and most of the dark colors should be avoided, because they are not practical. See what are the most and least practical car paint colors to choose from if you’re still hesitating.

Red car close-up
The brand, the model and the color are among the things that define our choice when buying a car. [Adobe Stock]

4. The Prices

Compare the prices of the best for your offers. The cost of the deal is second after you select the color, the model and the brand of pre-owned car. What price can you afford? How about the expenses do you have to pay on average in the future?

As we mentioned above, it makes a good sense to calculate the follow-up costs, which we often forget about. What the warranty includes, what are the workshop costs, how often are inspections? Talking about the expenses, you should consider the various taxes and insurance costs.

Hidden costs when buying a second-hand car are few. Here there’s is no much difference when compared with things you must look at if you want to buy a new vehicle. Usually, when your car is getting older, you pay more. Simple. To answer all these questions, and maybe even some more, take a look on the Internet and in the famous car magazines.

5. Select a reputable car dealer

When buying a used car, it matters who your dealer is. The proper dealers are confident in what they offer so that they won’t push you with the purchase. A good dealer will assist you by the moment you are convinced with your choice and will be ready to answer any questions related to an eventual deal.

If the dealer pushes for a quick purchase, his yard resembles a junkyard, or he wants to sell the used vehicle undoubtedly underprice, you should be skeptical. A reputable dealer gives the customer time to make a purchase decision, answers all questions factually and can prove his information.

6. Use The Sunlight

If you think that I’m kidding about this, let me tell you something. I’m not. There is a tiny difference when you buy a brand new or a second-hand car in terms of the weather. You can buy a new car anytime you want. If you have decided on a pre-owned car, SUV, truck or any other kind of vehicle, things are slightly different.

When the day to have a visual look around comes, try to choose a sunny day for it. Those who have good experience know that you only buy a used vehicle in good, sunny weather. When it’s sunny, the condition of the paint can be better evaluated, and all dents, scratches, rust or damages are noticed easier.

7. Check the papers

When buying used car scams are not uncommon, and unfortunately, of course, there are many scammers around. Fraud is impossible to occur if you buy your second-hand car from a decent car dealer. In case you encountered a private offer in one of the vehicles buying sites, you should be more vigilant. Especially when the offer is too good to be true.

Try not to be a black sheep. Before even getting into the vehicle of your choice and move further with the deal, the chassis number should be compared with the data given in the vehicle’s documents. If both figures do not match, something is wrong. It might be a stolen vehicle.

8. Check the mileage

The mileage can be checked easily if a regular checkbook is available. If there is an original checkbook present with the car, things you can find in there could be useful. Does the information appear logical? Are the stamp imprints readable? Was not deleted or overwritten anywhere? It is safer to look closely.

A closeup of car dashboard
Car dashboard can provide an useful info, but to be sure check the maintenance book of the vehicle [Adobe Stock]
Resetting the mileage seems to have become a favorite sport for many used car salespeople. Although this manipulation is punishable, fraudsters are not deterred by the legislature. Here would be useful if you know the average mileage per average family car per year, in case you are buying a family car of course. If you buy a local car from a local dealer or the original owner, it should be simple to compare the real mileage on display with the average mileage data per particular area or region. In case your second-hand car comes from another state, province or country, this info might be more difficult to find and compare.

9. Internal and External inspection

After checking the papers, an examination of the vehicle’s exterior and interior is a must. Take are thorough look for all of these: bumps, rust marks, detect wear, paint damages. If bumps are recognizable, this may be a sign fo an accident in the past. In this case, there may be hidden defects that affect the safety of the vehicle. Then complicated repairs might be necessary. The latter means hidden or unplanned high costs.

What about rusty spots? Often the wheel arches and doors are the first to be affected. Especially if you are not buying a retro car. When this is possible, the vehicle should also be inspected from below too. This might give you a clue what to expect. Look for oily spots, leakages, rust, and old signs of smoke. Signs of smoke can indicate a broken or damaged exhaust gas manifold, so take a look particularly on and around.

The condition of the interior, especially the wear of the shift knob, the seat covers, and the floor mats, say something about the wear of the vehicle. Do you pay attention to how the interior smells like? Pay attention to it, because often the smell inside can be a good sign of how the car was maintained in the past.

Another important place to have a look at is what is under the hood. I recommend you to do this after the test drive for a reason. Try to find any signs of water, oil or fuel leaks because such things might cost you a fortune in the future.

After a careful check under the bonnet, have a look under the protecting cover of the car’s trunk as well. There should not be signs of rust or paint damages, because this area usually is well protected. Some vehicles have extra (spare) tire inside the trunk, so it might worth checking its state.

10. The equipment

Pay attention to the included equipment. If the right car model is found, the original addtional equipment must be checked as well. Is it present or it is missing and does it match with your own ideas? If not, it may be necessary to invest a lot of money to reinstate or modify, and make the vehicle the car of your dreams. Are the efforts worth it and are you ready to make a compromise?

11. The Test drive

It’s evident that nobody buys a car without testing it. Especially a second-hand vehicle.

"Test Drive" written with paint on the asphalt
A proper test drive is one of the most important things to do when buying a preowned car [Adobe Stock]
No purchase should take place without a decent and long enough test drive. Test drive allows the buyer to get an impression of the driving experience and the comfort of the vehicle. If the car is noisier than it should be, there are strange vibrations, unusual smells or the steering wheel has a lot of play, then major repairs may be necessary.

There should be a difference between the run test of a pre-owned sports car or an old high-class limo. For this reason, you should discuss and agree in advance with the car dealer or previous owner how you would like to proceed with the test driving.

12. The Guarantee

One of the advantages of buying a second-hand car from a reliable auto trader is that you can get a warranty, even if the vehicle is not brand new. Unfortunately, such an option usually doesn’t exist when you make a deal with a private seller unless there is a clause in your contract, which was agreed before the actual deal takes place.

Usually, the second-hand cars, particularly those who are not that old, are not only washed but also serviced before they go for sale. Whoever buys a used car from an authorized car dealer must receive a guarantee on his vehicle. Dubious dealers try to circumvent them by selling the vehicle as a private individual. Nobody wants to fall for such a trick, so pay attention to this vital tip.

13. Negotiations

Don’t hesitate to comment and negotiate the announced price. Even if the conditions are right, bargaining is still acceptable, and it should work in many cases. Often, the buyer can push the price by a few hundred bucks. Don’t worry- the car dealer has made well the calculations, so your great deal won’t be a reason for someones’ bankrupt.

Sometimes pointing at some minor things which you see as disadvantages of the car in question(scratches, discoloration, etcetera) can help you to get a better deal. If you don’t think you should buy the selected vehicle immediately and can bluff, then do it. You have to muster the courage to act and act confidently.

 

In the end, the purchase contract is completed and signed. Then the papers and finally the keys can be handed over.

Good luck with the purchase of your car and have a good and safe trip!

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