As with any major purchase, you need to do your due diligence when it comes down to buying a used car. You will want to make sure that the vehicle is right for you and you will want to avoid scams.
Here’s 9 tips to make ensure that you don’t get ripped off, scammed or taken advantage of…
1. Question a deal that’s too good to be true.
Is the price too low? Does something seem off about the deal or the person you’re dealing with? If it seems too good to be true, then to probably is. Your best bet is to walk away.
2. Beware of curbsiders.
Curbsiders are unlicensed dealers or retailers that buy vehicles and don’t register them underneath their own names. They usually post vehicles for sale with a mark-up. The condition of these vehicles might be misrepresented… and… they may have issues.
3. Get a CarFax report.
Ask the seller for a report or visit www.CarFax.com to get your own. You will want to know the vehicles full history. Make sure that the report matches what the seller is claiming or advertising.
4. Check out the dealer.
Look into the background or reputation of the dealer to see if they’re legit. A simple Google search will do the trick. If buying from a dealership, look at reviews on DealerRater.com or Edmunds.com.
5. Verify the seller’s identity and VIN number.
Ask for the sellers proof of ID and check that the seller’s name and address match up with the ownership information on the vehicle’s registration form. Double-check make, model, year, color, license plate and VIN number of the car against the registration form.
6. Check for odometer roll backs.
You will want to make sure that the mileage that the seller’s claiming is not fabricated. See if all the numbers line up on the odometer. If there’s sabotage indicators (scratches or cracks) in and around the odometer, then it might have been tampered with.
Does the wear and tear of the vehicle show more use than the mileage? This can also be a key indicator.
7. Double-check the car’s condition.
Give the interior and exterior a thorough inspection. Take it for a test drive to match the vehicle’s condition with the seller’s advertising.
8. Don’t pay before you get the vehicle.
Never agree to pay upfront or over a wire transfer. If the seller offers third party escrow, investigate the service to make sure it’s legit.
9. Take the vehicle for a pre-purchase inspection.
Get an independent, licensed mechanic to give the vehicle a thorough inspection. That way you will know for sure that you aren’t buying a costly nightmare.