Used Car Salesmen Tricks
One of the biggest moments in many people’s lives is driving off in their brand-spanking-new automobile. It’s an exhilarating feeling. It’s also a big moment because in that very instant, that brand-spanking-new car loses a big chunk of its value—the difference between the retail price you paid and the car’s wholesale value. That’s typically thousands gone in an instant.
That’s why some car buyers choose to shop around for a used car. You save yourself that steep initial drop-off in value. More importantly, you get a car that runs just as well, is just as dependable, and looks and feels as good as that new car—that is, if you play your cards right.
For if there is one pitfall of buying a used car, it’s the risk of buying a lemon, a junker—call it what you want, you get the point: the wrong car. Used car dealers, after all, have nearly as bad a reputation, if not worse, than lawyers do. This holds true for individual people selling their cars through newspapers, Web auctions and classified sites, or with the old-fashioned signs in their car windows. The saying, “Buyer Beware,” no where has more meaning than with cars.
The opposite to that, of course, is that there are some real steals out there in used cars. We’re talking about quality vehicles that will perform beyond your expectations at a low price. Here’s how to find these perfect used vehicles, and avoid the top 10 scams that used car dealers everywhere try to pull on you.
1. Get a second opinion for the hype. Used car dealers will bombard you with every adjective under the book to sell you on a car—sporty, thrifty, fast, and etc. Don’t take their word for it. Instead, find someone you know, whether a neighbor, a colleague, a family member, or a friend, who owns the same make and model of the vehicle, and ask them for their opinion.
2. Do a background check. One of the most unethical, but legal, things someone can do to you is sell you a used car that’s been in a flood (and sort of repaired), or one that’s had 10 previous owners (none of whom repaired it). To be sure you don’t fall victim to this, track down a history report, including a clearance check on the vehicle title. You can even get some of this information from the seller, simply by asking why they are selling it. You’d be surprised what beans people may spill.
3. Examine for past damage. Used car dealers may also try to peddle a vehicle that was wrecked in a major accident. It’s amazing what autobody experts can do to repair a car’s exterior. So don’t go by the outer appearances of a vehicle. Before you buy it, make sure that it does not have serious damage to its frame, which it would have if it was involved in a crash.
4. Call up your trusted mechanic. Used car dealers, especially the big lots, will say they put their used cars through a “100 point inspection,” or something like that. Once again, a second opinion is in order. Get this one from your own mechanic. He’ll be able to tell how good a shape the car actually is in. Also be sure to ask him or her how often the car had been serviced. A good mechanic can even gauge that.
5. Research for recalls. Needless to say, a used car dealer may sell you a car that’s actually under recall in his mad rush to get the car off his lot. So be sure to call the car manufacturer, or visit their Web site, to see if the vehicle has any active recalls.
6. Avoid the leftover lemon. Along with recalled vehicles, dealers may even perpetrate something much worse on you—sell you a lemon. (By definition, a lemon is a car that’s still under warranty, which has such major problems that, warranty or not, it still cannot be fixed in a reasonable way.) The best way to avoid this is to research in Consumer Reports or the various automobile magazines, which all have yearly reviews of every make and model on the market. They’ll tell you whether a kind of car is known for being a lemon and prone to breakdowns.
7. See through the old paint and bait. Along with performing their “100 point inspection,” car dealers may shine and wax a used car—even repaint it—to hide dents, dings, and rust spots. A keen eye, though, can see right through this.
8. Take the test drive. Once you’ve done all your research, homework, extra credit, and everything else called for in the first seven steps, then comes the fun—the test drive. Drive the car for as long as its owner or dealer will allow you. Then you’ll get a better feel for how the vehicle handles, accelerates, brakes, and otherwise suits your tastes (or doesn’t).
9. Be wary of the pushy seller. At any stage of the game—from the moment you first talk to the seller to the test drive—be careful if the seller gets pushy. Any dealer or seller who is in a rush to move a vehicle should set off bells and whistles. Why the rush? Are they hiding something? In some cases the seller may just be excited to sell you the car—and actually happy for you—but in many other cases, they may be up to something. Better be safe than sorry.
Follow these 9 simple steps to avoid the scams and pitfalls of used car deals, and you could get the car of your dreams—for far less than you’d pay if it was brand-new. Plus, you get that same high when you drive your new used car home, without losing thousands of dollars.
Used Car Buying Tips
Some of these used car buying tips won’t be new to you. Often the trick is just to apply what you already know. On the other hand, when it comes to expensive areas of life like buying a car, one new thing learned can save you hundreds of dollars. Try some of the following.
1. Make a low offer. Okay, you knew this one. A trick you may not have used, though, is to make a low offer, and then leave your phone number with the seller. Time has a way of making sellers desperate, especially after you just helped convince them that they are asking too much.
2. Be careful with car price guides. Use the “blue book” etc, but try not to pay more than wholesale. I can’t think of many times when people I know have paid more than “bluebook,” so these “average” sales prices are doubtful.
3. Talk to people. This is one of the simplest and effective used car buying tips. Just let friends, family and others know you’re looking for a car. Quite often people would be happy to avoid the whole process of advertising and showing their car if they could just get rid of it by giving a good deal to a friend.
4. Check out the engine. Have a mechanic look at the car, and tell you what it’s likely to need in the next year or so. Then make a list, so the seller can see in writing why you are offering less than he wants.
5. Auctions. See if there is a public auction in your area. If not, maybe you can go with a dealer friend and give him a $100 to buy a car for you.
6. www.carfax.com. It’s around $25 to run vehicle background checks for a month – long enough to find your next car. They’ll show the chain of title, accident reports for the car, and even safety and reliability scores for that model.
7. “Ugly” cars. Watch for cars that sit on the lot for months. Dealers will often sell these “ugly ducklings” at a loss just to move them. Again, you may want to leave your phone number with a low offer.
8. Rental company cars. They are sold fairly cheap when they get the new ones in. Buy at bluebook wholesale or less, because they have had many different drivers, so they’ve more wear than normal.
9. Repos. Credit unions and some small banks do their own selling of repossessed cars. You usually bid on paper, maybe with a $50 deposit, and then get your $50 back if you’re not the winning bidder. If they don’t sell their own repossessions, ask where they are sold.
10. Consider gas mileage. High mileage may be better, but maybe a car that costs $500 less will use only $400 more gas in the two years you expect to own it. Do the math.
The Guide To Better Car Buying Deals
Buying a car is like making a journey into the unknown especially if you do not know the meaning of mileage and the only seats you have sat on inside a car are the ones for the passengers. Without a map, one can get lost, confused by several choices and generally duped into accepting a less than great a deal.
Still like any journey, with the right guide to buying a car, one can breeze through the experience with flying colors. Below is a guide to getting better car buying deals not only in terms of getting high quality cars but also in being aware of rebates and discounts. Both online and offline transactions were mentioned and discussed as some people are already doing their shopping online.
Read on and see for yourself which car buying guide you already know and which one you just heard for the very first time.
Car buying guide #1: List your requirements and stick to it.
Knowing what you need and what you want already takes you halfway the decision-making process. List your requirements and search for a perfect match out of the hundreds of car models available. You can do this in the old fashion way by visiting the car dealers near your area or the new age way through the wonders of the World Wide Web. One car buying guide which you should remember is to never go to dealers without having a car in mind. Websites like CarDirect.com has a handy research tool that can help you refine your search
Car buying guide #2: Have a budget and stick to it.
When you have already decided on your car model, you can now look into the prices being offered by various car dealers. One car buying guide that is really important is to do price comparisons, which are available online at InvoiceDealers.com or CarsDirect. You can also ask advice from people who have bought cars in the last five years. Chances are, car dealers still have the same practices.
Car buying guide #3: Be on the look out for special sales and promos
Most car dealers and even websites will always come up with a promo or a special deal guaranteed to outsell the competition. You can also leave your contact details and ask the car dealers that you have visited to inform you of upcoming promos. That way, you will stay up to date and would be able to compare different deals offered by different companies. One can also try looking for great deals over the Internet.
Car buying guide #4: Buy at the right season
One car buying guide that is a sure hit is perfecting the timing of buying a car. Usually, car dealers go on sale by the end of December as there is low demand for expensive gadgets. Because of the Christmas shopping rush, few actually buy a car at this period of time. Another great time is on July to October where new models have to replace the new. Sometimes, car manufacturers even offer big discounts just to be rid of the stock.
Car buying guide #5: Beware of Add-ons
Some dealers would put add-on services that you do not really need until the price skyrockets. Beware of these add-ons and really determine if that is something that you would like for your car.