This page covers buying used cars with some unique information and tools. Learn about the art of car buying from a certified master mechanic that specialized in vehicle evaluation. You can also print a copy of my personal used car inspection checklist.
Don’t miss the more in depth articles below. Take full advantage of my experience on this subject. Use the tools available here and share them with friends. Let’s start off on the right foot by paying as little as possible for the automobile.
I’m not going to get into the whole buy low thing right now, but don’t be afraid to hurt someones feelings with a low offer.
We need breathing room in case auto repairs are uncovered after the purchase. Lets use this sharp looking Lexus as an example. If you notice it has one oddball wheel. The wheel cracked like an egg in a pothole incident. However, there’s also expensive front end damage.
When you start searching to upgrade your old ride use a model verses price formula. You want to find popular cars that sell themselves like the loaded Lexus sc400 at a fair price. Owning a loaded popular model is like money in the bank, because it will always be worth something.
To get free book values visit the Nada website (opens in a new window). After the page loads click on used cars center! This takes you to the book values section. I find Nada to be accurate and they allow unlimited searches for Vehicle book values.
A newer resource I use is a twist on old fashioned vehicle history reports. Do you recognize the name Experian? They provide automobile history reports to dealers and large firms for years.
Or use the CarFax service. This company has rolled out major improvements since the negative press surfaced a few years back. I use to feel they leaned towards the Dealer’s advantage, but I think the pendulum has swung the other way.
Both company’s have a web based service for the public. With your full report pay attention to past registration and ownership changes. Learn where the car came from and what has happened to it during its life.
Why not use experts at evaluation and scoring? these company’s attach a quality number to the vehicle. They also have a free search function that provides some insight on reported damage so you can try it out. If they titled it in flood prone areas you may want to dig deeper or just pass altogether.
Used Cars Buyer Beware
The used automobile inspection is the most important step in the whole process (my opinion). If you get a great looking car at a low price it might be because hidden problems exist in an expensive mechanical system.
Checking the vehicle yourself or having a professional mechanic or shop check the vehicle is important. Most dealers will take the vehicle to the shop of your choice for a complete inspection.
If they don’t want to cooperate on this they maybe hiding something or know the vehicle will not pass an inspection. Most shops will get around $200.00 for a complete inspection.
This is still money well spent, but I have a cheaper alternative that could be right for some people. How about an app for that? A used car inspection application for smart phones exists that provides a detailed list of things to check.
Written by professionals it describes in-depth how to do it right. This “Do It Yourself” guide for inspecting used automobiles is a couple years old, but the important stuff remains the same today.
This is comprehensive information a lot of vehicle sellers would rather you didn’t have. It’s written for the capable Diy’er, but good enough for even advanced mechanics to keep them on track. Bring it with you on your next used car search.
Prepare for the Used Car Inspection
When it comes to finding hidden rust, spotting crash damage, how to detect body filler and evaluating a cars general condition don’t rush it with a 10-minute walk-around.
Instead, study up on some basic body work, learn how to spot frame damage and replaced sheet metal. This is just as important as how to find common mechanical problems.
Finally, if you want a paper manual to hold onto, let the Haynes guide provide a walk through on how to road-test the vehicle, plus a checklists to insure you don’t forget the important things. Again this is an old but good tool.
Technology has advanced, yet inspection procedures remain nearly the same. Why arm yourself with the knowledge and understanding of what to look for, listen to, and even smell when you are inspecting a car?
The car biz is notorious for unloading problem cars on unsuspecting and innocent people. In many cases you can use your findings as a bargaining tool to lower the price to cover all the needed repairs. By using the information in a inspection book you can spot poor front-end alignments by inspecting the tread wear on the front tires.
Also get some information on the health of an automatic transmission by using the smell and color of the hydraulic fluid to point out red flags. Many automobiles find themselves neglected. In fact, some so bad, they reach the point of being damaged. Protect yourself with some kind of guide. Mark now steps down from the proverbial soapbox.
You Learn or Get Burned
Another tool at your disposal is a professional evaluation in writing. It costs some money, but the piece of mind could be well worth it? Get your used car inspected by Alliance Inspection Management, LLC.
Here is a story about what happened to me when I tried to buy a car from a new car dealers used inventory. It reminded me of just how scary it can be when you are buying cars from dealers.
I finally did buy a used Cadillac SRX from a dealer. This next story proves that even educated buyer can still have car buying problems. Don’t have time to read these articles right now? Give this page a bookmark or share it with a friend.
One of the most important criteria for selecting a used automobile is the model year of it. See just how important the build date is to a vehicles yearly fuel costs.
You can shop for a car warranty online just like you would for any other kind of insurance. I provide a full report about these services at my page about the power and protection of a car warranty. I talked about Experian above but they now have a quick check available.
On this next page you can plug in a vehicle identification number and see an actual report when you check vehicle history. Its no secret that telling stories of previously owned car purchases gone bad is one of my favorite topics.
But what If I could help someone avoid the pain of purchase. Better known as buyers remorse. Well I’ll try with my article on the do’s and don’t s of used car buying. A lot of people get excited about a new used car to the point they forget about all the options they have when shopping for automobiles.
After receiving a lot of questions and interest on the subject of aftermarket warranties I built a fresh page to address some of these issues. Find out what is not covered under a extended warranty.
Learn about Edmunds.com and why you should consider their information valuable at my page about online car shopping. Remember you can never pay to little for an automobile. After the deal is done the value will continue to fall as the vehicle gets older. Plus you may find that something was missed during the inspection process. When in doubt check into a extended auto warranty.
Do you like buying used cars so much you’ve considered doing it full time? Here is some information on what it takes to .
Learn more about MasterTechMark and this automobile portal website on the homepage. This next link takes you from the used cars page and more answers to car questions.