Purchasing a car is a fairly large investment, and with that said it’s only natural that you as the consumer want to make a wise purchase. If you’re in the market for a used vehicle, it’s even more important to be an informed consumer so that you don’t end up with a lemon. So, before you start out on your search, here’s a list of common red flags to watch for that may just save you a lot of hassle and money.
Obvious Physical Damage to Vehicle
One of the top warning signs is one that is visible to the naked eye, without any knowledge about cars. Make sure to do a full inspection of the vehicle, both inside and out, looking for any signs of damage. The last thing you want to do is drive off the lot with a car that is damaged. It could be the tip of the iceberg with other, more serious damage that has been done to the vehicle.
Beware of the Sales Person Who Tries to Change Your Mind
There’s a good chance that you’ve probably done a little research on your own before you started your shopping experience. Most people tend to narrow it down to a few different makes and models that they are interested in. If you are set on one particular make, let’s say a Toyota, and the sales person is showing you everything but that particular make, then it’s likely not the best place for you to shop.
With that in mind, it’s also wise to visit dealers that do specialize in the make you’re after. Going back to the example of a Toyota, here in Australia you want to pick a place such as Maitland & Port Stephens Toyota, who is known for their large selection of used vehicles. They will have more options as far as models, pricing, and features go, which makes shopping easier and smoother.
Overpriced Window Stickers
Unfortunately, there are many tricks of the trade that dealers can use to ensure they get you to pay top dollar. One trick that may be used is to inflate the window sticker. This allows room for negotiation from the dealer’s standpoint, but probably means that you’ll end up paying more than you need to.
A Warranty with All Kinds of Exclusions
Just because you are buying used doesn’t mean you don’t want a warranty. A warranty may just be the deciding factor in the sale. Make sure that the warranty offers coverage on all the most important aspects of the vehicle. If it seems too sketchy or thin, it’s best to move on.
A Bad Reputation
Another red flag has to do with the dealer themselves. If there is a dealer in town with a bad reputation, there’s probably a good reason for it. It’s probably not worth finding out first-hand why they’ve been given that bad rap.
Protecting Your Investment
Watching for these red flags means you’ll be doing your part to protect the investment you are ready to make, and ensure you spend your money wisely.