Don’t Ignore These Red Flags When Buying A Used Car!

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With the economy still not looking too healthy and the new car market rapidly growing, it’s certainly a good idea to buy a used car when your current one reaches the end of its tether. Although you’re making a sound financial decision, buying used presents a whole new challenge in the buying process. To make the whole task a little less daunting, here are some red flags to look out for when buying a used car.

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Image credit: Wikimedia

The first big thing you need to look out for is misaligned body parts. Surprisingly, this is one of the most common problems you’ll see in any used car lot. A lot of salesmen will attempt to wave these off as minor dents and bumps on the surface, when it could be something a lot more sinister. A lot of this “minor” damage is the echo of some major car crash in the vehicle’s past, which could leave dangerous, lasting damage. The main thing you should be looking out for is any irregular widths in the seams around the car doors, the hood or fenders. This is a clear sign that the vehicle has seen far worse days, and may not be worth the risk of buying.

Another big thing you need to be aware of is salespeople with pushy, impulsive negotiation methods. You should never enter a used lot without making sure that your emotions and impulses in check. Instead, you should be relying on research and business knowledge of the business. Go to any used car website before you go window shopping, and have a bottom-line price in mind before you start any negotiations. I know that the image of a silver-tongued used car salesman is a stereotype, but it isn’t one that’s totally inaccurate! As persuasive as they may seem, you should know that even here the customer is always right. Don’t be too timid to make the salesman play by the rules you set!

When you take a car you have your eye on for a test drive, make sure to pay attention to all the dashboard lights. In particular, you should make sure that the engine light is fully functional. The engine light is what’s going to tell you how the car’s performing, and your main recourse for using it as efficiently as possible. The salesman might wave a malfunctioning engine light away, telling you that it’s no big deal. They may be right, but it’s not something you should take their word for! Diagnostic services such as the car inspections by Spot On Vehicle Inspection may be able to shed some light on these supposedly “minor” issues. However, if you’re not in a position to have such a test done, it’s always best to treat malfunctioning electronics as a deal breaker.

There you have the three biggest things you should be aware of when buying a used car. While there are many more warning signs to be aware of, keeping these red flags in mind will help you avert some major disasters!

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