Sometimes going to a car dealership is an enjoyable experience that requires no repeating. You’re greeted with free coffee, a nice conversation, and beautiful looking cars set at an affordable price. Or, sometimes things go so sour that you’re scarred from stepping inside a dealership ever again. We all have an idea of what a shady used car salesman could look, talk, and act like to get their deal closed. Regardless of what experience you may have had at a used car dealership, there are a few traits that bad businesses share in common. You’ll feel better knowing what to look out for the next time you step into a dealership that offers financing for cars that seem too good to be true. Always practice safe judgement when you are buying a used car. Let’s look at a few red flags that poor car salesmen exhibit to you as a customer. We’ll also walk through what the right questions to ask are to make sure the car has as much value as the salesmen promises, what the warranties are, and how the dealership manages its inventory overall.
Signs of Bad Car Dealers
Usually a used-car dealer can seem shady because used cars are more complicated to sell to to customers who want to know everything about its history. Typically, price-gouging, title-washing, covering up bad mechanical problems, offering backhanded deals and sky high interest rates are just a handful of the risks a consumer can face when buying a used car. There’s no guarantee that the car you buy isn’t totally spotless if you don’t do enough road tests and homework from independent sources. If you find yourself at a used car dealership, look out for the following signs to keep your money safe:
- Poor assortment of inventory. If the cars in the lot look less than remarkable, their performance on the road and overall life span remaining may be lackluster. A good sign is to see fairly new cars that have low mileage accumulated and barely any history of repairs. On the other hand, if the majority of cars have nearly six figures of mileage, former accidents, and just look outdated it’s safe to visit another used car dealership. Everybody wants a great car at the lowest price but you don’t want to sacrifice your wallet for never ending maintenance issues down the road. If there’s a certain model that you’re eyeing, it may be best to go to its actual licensed dealer to try out their vehicles since the quality is likely to be more standardized.
- A maintenance shop that is not organized or efficient. Many used car dealerships will offer in house fixes and renovations for their cars as another branch of their service. For complex automotive problems, you’re better off buying from a lot that will allow the cars to be fixed at the brand they actually belong too. Any type of car repair can quickly become expensive, but the quality will be more consistent with the actual brand’s dealer.
- Limited warranties. No used-car lot can afford to offer new-car style coverage, but in some states they are mandated to offer at least a 30-day warranty and certification of inspection. Ask for how long our potential warranty is and don’t be afraid it to extend it to an additional 60 to 90 days to get the best value for your buck. If they’re proud to offer you a better service for your business, they are likely to be much easier to work with.
- Limited open recalls. Ask the dealership about selling cars with open recalls. That rules out some big used car superstores but it’s best to check for yourself online to stay secure. You can find out whether a car has any open recalls by copying down its specific VIN number and entering it in atwww.safercar.gov. Protect yourself with your next used-car no matter how much time it can take!
- Fraudulent sounding finance plans. These are a baiting tactic to bring in more customers who want a quick buy for the least amount of money required. While it seems easy to work with used car dealers who offer their own financing for people who especially have a worse off credit score, avoid any at all costs. At these types of dealerships, financing interest rates can range from an average of 19 percent to an extremely high 29 percent. This way over the typically rate for even store branded credit cards that sink your hard earned funds. Save yourself from any long term headache.
- A difficult time during car inspection. The best way to make sure the used car you want to buy actually runs well like the dealer says is to take it to an independent mechanic and get an thorough inspection done. If the car has any big operating or safety problems, you can use the facts gained from the inspection to choose your decision. Bigger issues are usually signs of more maintenance problems to come in the future to come so be very careful. Any dealer who gives you an attitude for wanting to double check their word isn’t being honest to you in the first place.
On And Off The Road
If you want to buy a used car from a dealership, make sure you research its customer reviews online. You’ll gain plenty of insight and know better about what cars are on the lot to decide if you should work visit them or not. Check out other used car dealerships that you haven’t yet heard of as well if they are showing a great track record with previous customers!