Traversing the jungle that is the used car market can be a worry for the best of us, but we have got you some subtle but useful tips that should make your experience much more pleasant.
Buying a used car is always an enticing one, you can pick up a car for much less than the retail price of the new example, and you get a vast range of options. Even the car you that was out of your reach brand new is well within your budget in the used market. It’s easy to get carried away by the listed section in used car websites, but you have to be wary though, as sometimes when the deal seems too good to be true, it usually ends up being that exactly as you may end up getting a lump of coal when searching for a diamond. We have got some subtle hints and tips that should help you get a better deal in every situation.
Badges are typically placed at particular spots on a car’s panels and if they’re not at where they’re supposed to be, it can be an indicator of a few things. That particular panel may have been repainted, which begs the question of why? It can be because the car’s been in an accident which needed repainting and the mechanics tried to do their best at sticking it back on. If the car is only 2-3 years old and badges are askew, check for panel alignments and if it’s off, walk away, faster if the seller says the car’s body has been in factory-spec since day 1.
2. Does the condition match the mileage?
A lot of used car sellers say their vehicles have low mileage as we can see on the odometer, but that can be manipulated. If the interior is showing harsh wear and tear after 3-4 years and paint outside is fading, signs say this vehicle has seen some rough times, and no car this new should feel like it’s seen a decade of extreme weather.
On the hypothetical chance that the mileage is genuine, the other question arises that what sort of treatment this car got in such a short span? Was it a Dakar competitor the owner forgot to mention? On a test drive if you start hearing odd noises and thumps with the low mileage, then either the mileage has been clocked back, it went on secret cross-country rallies in its short life, or at worst it’s both.
If the car’s been warmed up before your arrival, then something fishy is up as a heated up car can hide a few things. For example, it can hide the fact that it takes a while to crank up when the engine is cold, as well as you won’t see how quickly the temperatures rise. Noises and vibrations may abate as well when the engine reaches ideal temperatures, meaning you won’t hear or feel any of the things when it was cold.
4. Keep your nose open
You need your senses on their A-game when looking at a used car, the nose mainly, sense of taste isn’t necessary at all here. If the car doesn’t smell right when checking out, it has either gone through flooding or food spillage of some sort. Additionally, this can also mean that the AC or the air filter isn’t working correctly. On the contrary, if the car is filled up with enough car perfumes to open its boutique, you have to wonder what odours is the owner trying to mask.
5. No test drive is a red flag
Always, always make sure to take the car for a short spin before you consider buying it in the first place. If the owner refuses to let you drive the car or be a passenger in it, then that’s a worrying sign. And if the owner doesn’t even let you start it, you should search elsewhere as most probably you’ll end up with a lemon of a car if you buy it. Yes, there is the risk of the car getting stolen during the test drive, but the owner should be aware of that risk if he plans to sell the vehicle, so the seller should keep the option of bringing someone along for peace of mind.
Buying a used car isn’t a harrowing experience if you know what to look for, as the smallest details can be the difference between a bargain and an endless black hole of expenses.