Buying a car is a big step. You want to spend your hard earned cash on a vehicle that you’ll love not only on the outside, but on the inside as you drive it for hopefully several years. While buying used cars are a popular choice among young adults to get the most bang for their back, it is extremely important to be cautious of sneaky car salesman who are trying to gain the largest profit. Over the past decade, used car dealers have earned a highly negative reputation for leading people into making risky purchasing decisions.
Part of the reason that these used-car dealers may seem untrustworthy is from the fact that selling used cars is tricky for dealers themselves. During their lifetime, a car will go through a countless number of possible damages like neglect, collisions, overheating, flooding, runs over damaging potholes, and usually a long term lack of maintenance.
A responsible used-car dealer should be fixing those problems right before reselling any used car for the sake of the customer. Unfortunately, not everyone follows their moral compass and look to get rid of their oldest inventory instead. Let’s walk through a variety of warning signs of a bad used-car dealership so you don’t have to learn the hard way.
Signs To Look Out For
- Watch the quality of inventory. While every customer wants to have a great car at the most affordable price, many run into the problem of purchasing vehicles that are loaded with maintenance issues. From a faulty brake pad, a scratched rim, to disintegrating tires, no one wants to be stuck with a purchase that only seems to spark more expenses than before. If the selection of vehicles on the lot you happen to visit all seem a little too old or beaten up, your best bet is to leave and look to another dealership. Don’t commit to a certain model or luxury brand even if the price tag is dirt cheap.
- The shop belonging to the dealership can be hit or miss. Most used car dealerships around the country that have their own garage with certified mechanics are more likely going to do various inspections on their used cars. From there, they can address any problems they find with the car before it goes on stage to be resold. A larger shop is a better sign of a dealership that is holding themselves accountable for their inventory. However, if you are looking to buy a luxury model, especially one that is sourced from Europe, a wise choice would be to purchase a used-car that will allow the car to be taken to a new-car dealership for any fixes. Do your research and know what options are out there!
- Know what warranties are available with your purchased vehicle. You’re a lot better off looking at a used-car dealership that offers its own flexible version of a warranty on the inventory it sells. A warranty that lasts several years is a great choice, especially if you can snag in an unlimited mile amount on the car. Make sure to pay close attention to what the dealer’s attitude is in this situation. If they seem happy to offer you a great warranty service, you will likely not run into as many problems with them in the long run. If they are angry on the other hand, you might want to reconsider where you invest your money in.
- Ask for the title of the car. If a dealer wants to sell you a used car and are ignoring the title tied to the vehicle, you’re in deep water. Thousands of buyers in the country have been recorded to be left stuck with a used car that warrants a previous loan. The bank will be in charge of these loans (if any are still outstanding) instead of the dealer themselves. Make sure you ask the dealership about the history and financial status of each vehicle as you look at what they have at the site.
- Avoid the short term financing if your credit is currently faulty. It can be extremely easy to think that dealers who offer a variety of financing plans are doing a service to buyers with bad credit score. The reality is that at these kinds of used-car dealerships, interest rates can inflate from a ballpark average of nineteen to thirty percent or more. By the time a customer has paid a highly inflated price for the used car, invested in an extended warranty or credit protection plan they can find themselves paying up to three to five times the worth of the car originally. Make sure your money is safeguarded and not in the hands of a system that will use your hard work for no good.
- An uncooperative dealer is a red flag when it comes to inspections. A tried and true way to protect yourself when buying any used car, no matter if you’re working with a dealer or a private party, is to bring it to a trusted mechanic and ask them for an independent pre-purchase inspection. This is to ensure that if the car has any major issues, you can use the information they provided to think hard about whether or not it is worth the purchase price. If the dealer you are talking to won’t let you take the car in or is speaking with an ill tone of voice all of a sudden, you’ll know that you’re not dealing with someone who is truly honest.
Be Safe And Smart
Before buying any car, make sure you are doing enough time to look at the reviews of each dealership you plan to visit. Not all used-car dealerships are built the same. Make sure you can talk to one that shows honest history of each vehicle, treats its customers with ultimate care, and understands what their needs are. The people truly make a difference when it comes to buying the car of your dreams!