Many people are aware of the various online tools available to car buyers. You can use financial calculators to understand your financing options. You can access pricing guides to estimate how much a given vehicle should cost given its make, model, age, condition and mileage. However, there are few resources for those who need to know where they should go to buy a car, though there are many options no matter where you live. Here are 3 simple tips to choose the best used car dealers.
Search for Dealers with a Good Selection of the Right Inventory
It isn’t enough to have a large inventory. You want to choose a used car dealer with a large inventory of the type of car you want to buy. For example, a sports car dealer will have very few if any four-door sedans. A new car dealership offering the customer trade-ins on its used car lot won’t have much in terms of selection unless you’re shopping for one to three-year-old models of their most popular vehicles. There are car dealerships with a large, diverse selection of used cars. And this is ideal for those who don’t know exactly what make and model they want.
Check the Dealer’s Reputation
Used car dealers get a bad rap because of how many people have been ripped off by the bad used car salespeople. The stories include people who were sold cars that were in dire need of major repair to vehicles that were older or far more worn than they were led to believe. The solution is to research the reputation of any and all used car dealerships you’re considering shopping at. Don’t go there if there are complaints about surprise charges on the final bill, high-pressure sales, or outright fraud. For example, no one should buy a car with a salvage title unless they’re going to take it apart for spare parts for other, working cars. On the other hand, you should expect to pay sales tax, car registration fees, and modest documentation fees.
You can protect yourself by asking a lot of questions before you purchase the vehicle. Ask to see the vehicle history report and service history log, though the latter may not be available if you’re not buying from a private seller. Check the VIN number, and run the accident history report yourself. Good car dealerships will provide this to you for free. Scammers will provide a minimal fake report or say that it isn’t necessary.
Always take the car for a test drive. Inspect the car for signs of major damage and excessive wear. And take the car to be inspected by the mechanic of your choice. Don’t let the dealer tell you that their mechanic’s signature is good enough. After all, that person works for the dealership.
Suppose you’ve chosen a vehicle to purchase. Always read the paperwork. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the terms and conditions. Never let them pressure you into signing a contract you don’t understand. Be prepared to walk away if anything is out of order. You have no negotiating power if you can’t walk away, whether you’re concerned about the car or the dealership. And you can’t afford to be guilt-tripped into spending an extra two thousand dollars on long-term, low-value service agreements or additional fees.