If you’re shopping around for a used car, and you really have no clue where to start or what to look for, you’re not alone. There are tons of weird little questions to ask and things to check before making a purchase, and if you’re thinking about buying a car from a private seller rather than a professional car dealer, there are a few extra things to remember before making your purchase:
- As many people have found out when trying to sell a fairly new car, the value of a car decreases significantly the minute it’s driven off the dealer’s lot. While this is unfortunate if you’re trying to sell your car, it’s beneficial if you’re looking around at used cars. There should be a pretty big price difference in a new car and a used car of the same make and model, even if the used car has barely been driven. If you’re buying a used car from a private seller, you definitely want to make sure that you aren’t getting ripped off and charged too much.
- If you’re a bit anxiety-prone and want to make extra sure that the car you’re buying is safe, it’s okay to hire a third-party auto mechanic to do an inspection of the vehicle — and if you’re buying a used car from someone other than a reputable used car dealer, this is definitely a good step to take. A good car dealer will provide you with a comprehensive history and safety report, and should make you feel comfortable with your purchase. But with a sketchier seller, there’s nothing wrong with being a little hyper-vigilant.
- Speaking of history reports, it’s important to realize that a history report isn’t the same thing as a safety report — and these are both things that you should be given, or should ask for, before buying a used car. There is usually a 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at the bottom of the windshield, and you’ll be able to use this number to look up the car’s history, any repairs it has needed, or any damage it may have received. As far as the safety history goes, you can find out about any past safety recalls that the manufacturer may have issued if you have the model and year. Safety recalls aren’t necessarily a bad thing — as long as the previous owner has taken the car into an auto service repair shop and had the safety concern fixed (which would be noted on the history report).
Now it’s your turn to share — do you have any tips for someone who’s buying a used car from a private seller? Or maybe you’re thinking about buying a used car for the first time and still feeling a bit confused? Be sure to share any advice or questions you have in the comments section! Find more.