If you are looking for a new car, you will find there is a limited supply. So many have shifted their vision to used cars. You will need to know these car smarts tips to prevent getting ripped off, big bills down the road, and ways to save you money. Stay till the end for the bottom line.
Buying a CPO (certified preowned) vehicle is different than a used car. A CPO vehicle is the next best thing to buying the car brand new.
The exact definition of what constitutes a certified pre-owned vehicle differs from manufacturer to manufacturer but they are generally no older than 6-years of age and have accumulated less than 85,000-miles during that time.
The car will have gone through a multi-point checklist as outlined by the manufacturer and will come with an extended warranty or continuing your existing warranty. You will avoid the steep initial depreciation of a new car, you will also find that many CPO vehicles come with additional benefits such as lease deals, complementary servicing and roadside assistance, too.
Buying a car from your friendly neighbor may seem tempting because of the lower price but other than a promise that it has been well-maintained and receipts to support this claim, you will be working mostly on his word. When it comes to a warranty or support, there isn't any.
It is a risky but with these tips you will be much happier than if you just wing it!
Here are the tips that will save you money, stress and issues.
1. Test Drive: You should always take a vehicle for a drive before you buy it. Don’t laugh, some people are so anxious to buy a car that they never do. Listen for unusual squeaks, noises, rattles, or that may lead to repairs down the road. Look for signs of previous damage. Paint color variances on the inside of body panels and doorjambs can signal body work from an accident. The smell of mildew or mold could indicate water damage, avoid all flood damaged cars. Water is the enemy to computers and will void your warranty. Even if a vehicle looks well-maintained, have a professional look it over. The test drive should determine seating comfort, visibility and how you like the ride as well.
2. Check the Title:
The seller should have the actual title for the vehicle with a lien release or will get you one when before it changes hands to you. Never buy a vehicle with UCC filings or a lien. A sign release on paper should remove any other ownership. I never suggest buying a vehicle with wrecked, repurchased under a state lemon-law program, flood damage, or one that has had another problem. Many state title documents will have that information disclosed on them. Some state titles do not have that information; in those states, you should check with vehiclehistory.com
or Carfax. Verify that the odometer statement on the title agrees with the number on the odometer.
3. Vehicle History Report: VehicleHistory.com, Carfax or AutoCheck reports often detail whether a vehicle has ever been in a crash, some maintenance records, and how many owners of the vehicle, but vehicle history reports aren’t perfect. None of the companies have all the details such as accidents, flood damage, vehicle theft and damage that can seriously impact the car's value.
4. Check with the local dealer service department: You will need the vehicle identification number or VIN. Ask the to check for any information. If you buy the vehicle, you can thank them by letting them do some maintenance on it.
5. Get a Mechanic’s Inspection: I highly suggest getting and expert option on any issues or problems you may incur or any mechanical damages. It's always worth asking the seller to get the vehicle inspected. The results of this inspection will help you negotiate a fair price. If the car needs major repairs, I’d suggest passing on this vehicle unless you know how to repair it yourself. If the seller won’t let you take the car for an inspection, I’d suggest not buying the car, there could be hidden issues you will find out later with out any recourse. It may be risky, but if the owner has the maintenance history and documentation, you are gambling on their honesty.
Here’s the Bottom Line:
There are always good and bad deals to be had when buying used cars, the additional upfront costs of buying a CPO vehicle can often be worth it for the peace-of-mind you get from the manufacturer backing as well as the warranty. Buying a used car with a manufacturer warranty makes the process a lot less daunting.
If you chose to buy a used car from a lot or private owner, it's on you to do the research before making an offer. Never be afraid to walk away. There is a butt for every seat and another car will come along that is a better deal for you.
Watch the video review. If you have additional questions, put them in the comments below and I'll be happy to answer.
Lauren Fix, The Car Coach® is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host.
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