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What To Look For When You Buy A Used Vehicle

inspection What To Look For When You Buy A Used Vehicle Image courtesy of USAG-Humphreys http://www.flickr.com/photos/usaghumphreys/7174914368/

Buying a used vehicle is a real challenge, but fortunately it is not one that has to be as hard as it seems on the surface.  The real trick is knowing exactly what to look for when buying a used vehicle and not settling for anything less.  Here is what you need to know…

Start With Knowing Your Limits

Before you begin you need to know your limits.  You are probably not a qualified mechanic (unless by some strange chance you are), and you are also similarly probably not a loan officer at a bank or professional negotiator.  Never try to be these things when shopping for yourself because these are easy ways to get yourself psyched into thinking that you are equal to or a reasonable substitute to any of those professions.  Chances are you are not, so do not lose out on the benefits involved by hiring professionals to handle you vehicle evaluation and auto financing.

Know Where to Learn More

Knowing what you know might not be enough, and knowing that fact should be a good starting place for you to begin your journey.  The Internet is a great resource and it is literally packed with great details and facts that can help you make intelligent decisions starting with product research.  Product research is critical and a great place to start is a search engine such as Google or Bing.

Start by looking for real user experience with any makes or models you are looking for, or simply look for vehicles that meet your needs.  For example, maybe you need an affordable 7-seater, so type that into your search engine and see what comes up.  No matter what you look for, be sure to read the reviews and see if they seem like they are written by professionals or real people.  Remember that professional reviews may be biased because their advertising revenue comes from auto makers that might not want to spend big bucks on a review site that slams their products.

Learn To Let Go & What to Ask For

Letting go is important, and as we discussed earlier you will certainly want to have a professional inspect your vehicle.  You will also want to let go of age-old positional arguing.  We already covered the need to put your faith in mechanics and other experts, so let’s cover positional arguments.  Positional arguments are simple to understand: you want Car A and have $3000 in your pocket, therefore you start by offering only $2500 so you give yourself some wiggle room.

This is easily the worst possible way to argue as it is almost guaranteed to produce less than optimal results.  Instead, argue based on facts, figures, and unbiased sources.  Start by getting the Kelly Blue Book value of the vehicle you are looking at and calculate it correctly.  When the seller agrees to the price then agree to have the vehicle inspected and any hidden defects are to be paid for by the seller or will result in a price reduction equal to the repair cost.  For example, say the value of Car A is really $2980 per the Kelly Blue Book and the shipper states that they are being completely honest and forthwith.  Surely they would not object to an unbiased professional inspection and covering any major repairs if they have such faith in what they are offering.  If they back out, you know that they are not being honest and this is NOT a vehicle worth buying.

This also brings up a good point: anyone that takes good care of their vehicle is going to keep good repair and maintenance records.

Shop EVERYWHERE With A Few Clicks

Shopping for cars or loans, your best bet is to shop online.  There are many sites online that are dedicated to helping you shop online for a new or used vehicle.  These sites usually come with all of the tools that you need, including help finding an inspector to transportation assistance.  Just start searching and see what you turn up!

Remember that you can also find auto loan applications online from many different lenders.  There are also sites that enable you to fill out a single loan application and have several financial institutions respond in seconds or less!  Imagine being able to shop a nationally competitive market with just a few clicks.