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February 27, 2016

We all seek to obtain the dream car without getting ripped off in the process. Discerning whether the vehicle is worth the buy is not easy, and it is even harder to achieve when looking for a second hand car or buying online. This is a tough gig, because you never know who might be looking to trick you. To make things worse, dealing with a private seller also means you have less legal protection. Finally, one must not take anyone’s word on the condition of the vehicle, and inspect it in person. There are many things to keep in mind, and no telling what you might find.

Who is who?

buying used car
The first thing to muse on is not the car, but its owner. You must know who you are buying from because there are many shady sellers praying on the naïve and incautious. What you want is a reputable source, so avoid fraudulent ads and demands for advance payments. Steer away also from aggressive emails and offers that seem too good to be true.

It is a good idea to view the car on business premises or home of the seller. That way, if something goes wrong, you know where to find the one responsible. When searching online, use webmaster tools to get a hold of the website’s source and host. Finally, see what the real value of the car you are interested in is, so that you can compare it with the seller’s price tag.

Checking the car

You cannot expect from used cars to be in prime state, but nobody wants to drive a vehicle that could fall apart any minute either. Taking a trusted expert with you for inspection is a sound course of action, unless you possess the necessary knowledge and skills yourself. It is pertinent to pinpoint any concealed wear and tear, as well as car modifications. If possible, access a full history of the car, and ensure that it is not stolen or written off.

Ask for as much paperwork as you can, and do not be lazy to go through the details about title, registration, insurance, service records, etc. If the detected issues do not bother you, use them as a point of negotiations. Just remember that driving a car is the best way to gain insight into its condition. Ask for a test drive and probe manual or standard transmission, brakes and steering.

Further inspection

Keep your eyes open for recently repaired parts, water damage and signs of fluid leaks around the car. You might want to bring a paper towel for checking the engine oil as well. A small flashlight, on the other hand, will help you inspect under the car for corrosion and other problems. The body colors should match, and you can use a magnet for gauging body work.

Do not overlook the tires and see if there is an uneven wear, which could indicate that suspension and alignment are faulty. Note that some owners decide to clock the vehicle to increase its value. Unsuspecting buyers may end up buying and driving a potential death trap, which is why checking on MOT details and previous mileage rating is advisable. The interior is just as vital, so make sure that stereo, alarm, heater and air conditioning are working properly.

Payment options

credit card payment
Many buyers are looking for a safe way to make a purchase, since paying in cash and sending money abroad is risky business. There are many digital payment solutions, but there are legitimate safety concerns linked with most of them. Sophisticated scams and frauds are not uncommon, but there are things you can do to protect yourself.

The most important thing is to choose a solid payment method such as PromisePay, which provides a fast and efficient payment system for car buyers, but also dealers and private sellers. Moreover, it is easy to track all payments this way, so there are no hiccups. This is due to the fact that financial instruments like escrow eliminate the risk involved in the transactions, and overcome trust issues between the parties.

Old gold

Before embarking on a car buying adventure, make an effort to do a proper research. Purchasing online and second-hand involves some extra risks, and without taking safeguards you could end up being a victim of a fraud. Arm yourself with a scrupulous mindset and keep attention to detail. Do not let the seller push you into making a bad deal. Be ready to negotiate, but also prepared to walk away. Make a thorough examination of the vehicle and take it for a spin. It should enable you to find an old gold, not something that is fit for the junkyard.
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