Buying a new-to-you car should be an exciting process. But with all the questions, checks and negotiation needed to seal the deal, it can often be an overwhelming one too.
Whether you’ve bought numerous vehicles or you’re a first-time buyer, its natural to find the experience daunting. This is even more so in the current used car market where a shortage of vehicles for sale is driving buyer demand and prices.
But it’s critical to make sure you’ve done your due diligence before moving forward. Here are a few questions you’ll want to be able to answer to make sure you’re not buying a lemon.
How long have you owned the car?
You’ll want to make sure the person you’re negotiating with is authorised to sell the car — ask to see their driver’s licence and compare the details with the car’s registration papers.
But this question can also help you unearth more details about your potential new vehicle. If someone has owned a car for a long time and hasn’t had many problems, it could be a sign that the car is in good condition and likely to be reliable. However, if the seller only recently bought the car themselves and is already looking to offload it, it could suggest there is something wrong with it.
Are you the first owner?
Getting a solid vehicle history can also help you determine whether a used car is worth buying. If the current owner also bought it secondhand, do they know who owned it before? Getting documentation confirming the history of the vehicle can help you understand if it’s been offloaded in quick succession and what kind of use it’s had.
It’s also important to make sure the details of the car match the advertisement. Ensure it has the features you need and if something isn’t adding up, be sure to ask.
Why are you selling this car?
This is a big one. Genuine sellers have genuine reasons for needing a sale. But it’s important to be on the watch out for red flags.
For example, it makes sense for a couple to be selling a two-door hatchback after the birth of their first child. However, if your seller won’t provide a reason or tries to change the subject, it could suggest the car is trouble.
Is there any outstanding finance or debt on the vehicle?
Before buying a used car, you’ll want to understand if there is any finance or debt on the vehicle. The reason? If you accidentally buy a car with outstanding debt, you may be responsible for it. If you can’t afford the repayments, you’ll be at risk of losing the vehicle.
There are numerous providers out there that will check the vehicle history to ensure there are no financial liabilities — usually for a small fee.
If the car has been involved in any accidents, which parts were damaged and then repaired? Where was it repaired, and do those repairs have any guarantee/warranty on them?
If the car you’re looking to purchase has been in a major accident, it could be a red flag.
Look carefully at the paintwork for colour differences or bubbling that can indicate the car has been in an accident. But sometimes cars that have had significant repairs will continue to have problems that can’t be identified with a quick spot check. You’ll want to ensure you have a mechanic look over your potential new purchase before you buy it.
However, don’t be too concerned with minor dents or scratches — they aren’t usually a sign of anything other than wear and tear. In fact, minor paint damage can be a point to help you negotiate on price and can often be quickly repaired by a car paint repair specialist like Bumpertek.
Finally, are you prepared to negotiate on the price?
This can be a hard one given the competitive nature of the used car market right now, but you’ll want to ensure the price you’re paying matches the condition and value of the car. Use your assessment to negotiate the price to a value you’re comfortable with.
Once you’ve purchased your car, you might find there are small scratches, scrapes or dents you want repaired. Or perhaps you’re looking for expert detailing to give your car the finishing touch. If you want to see how your new car can be given the first-class treatment, get in touch with Bumpertek today.