|Our society has seen a shift in consumer spending with Americans looking for ways to save more of their hard earned cash. Many of those people are prolonging buying a new vehicle in favor of keeping the one they have on the road longer. For those that are in the market to purchase another vehicle, more people are opting for a used car versus shelling out the big bucks for a new vehicle. Buying a used car can be a great way to save money, however consumers are advised to proceed with caution and fully research both the vehicle and seller before finalizing a sale. Here are a few tips to avoid getting taken for a ride when purchasing a used vehicle.
Carefully research the history of a used car and avoid rushing into a sale for the sake of getting a good "deal". There are thousands of used cars available and finding the right one will save you time, money and aggravation down the road.
- Verify documentation- If you are searching for a used car and find a deal that appears too good to be true, it probably is. The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning to potential car buyers about VIN cloning. This occurs when a car is stolen and in an attempt to avoid arrest and make money off of the stolen vehicle, the thief clones the VIN (vehicle identification number) to match that of car that hasn't been stolen. To avoid falling victim to this scam, check the VIN number on the dash as well as inside the door panel and under the hood to ensure it matches the title. Read all documents carefully and be on the lookout for discrepancies or misspelling that may indicate the document is not original. Vehicles that are sold for quick cash at a price that is significantly lower than normal should be considered suspicious.
- Buy a car history report- To save money you sometimes have to spend money. Buying a car history report may cost you a few bucks upfront, however the information contained on the report could very well save you thousands of dollars in the long run. A car history report will clear up any questions you may have about the car you are considering. The report will confirm the VIN number, record accidents the car may have been involved in and provide information regarding possible liens against the vehicle. Having this information before taking ownership of the car will help you avoid buying a used car that is better left on the lot.
- Question the seller- You have the right to ask the seller certain questions about the car's history, maintenance and performance to get a better idea of the value of the vehicle. Pay close attention to the answers and the manner in which the seller interacts with you as a potential buyer. Buying a car from a private sell could very well result in well maintained quality vehicle at a reasonable price. If however you get a feeling that the seller is not simply selling a vehicle he or she used themselves, you may question how they obtained the car and their motive for selling.
By Trisha Wagner