expert tips if you’re buying second hand

Let’s face it: when you’re buying from the bargain-bottom, you can’t expect a car that looks too pretty. Dents, scratches and faded paintwork are the norm, and some of these blemishes are hard to live with, so do your best to overlook them.

What matters most at this price point is whether the car is mechanically sound – so value the car’s maintenance records and the way it drives on its test drive more than its looks.

Shop at the curb

Any vendor who offers to meet you at a rest stop, parking lot or gas station should be viewed with the utmost suspicion, even if they give a very good reason or say they are trying to help you. It is quite possible that such a salesperson would like to remain untraceable if – or rather when – something goes wrong with the car after the keys have been handed over.

Even if you meet a private seller in front of his house, make sure that the house really is his – did you see him coming out or going in, or did he meet you out on the street? A genuine private seller’s address should match that on the vehicle registration and/or service records. Also, be wary of sellers who say they are selling the car from a friend’s house.

get greedy

The full-featured top-of-the-line model may look enticing, but when it’s priced the same as a more modest version with similar mileage, one should ask why – after all, nowhere does it say “if something looks too good to be true, it is”. usually “more suitable than in the used car game”.

Of course, if everything fits, you can get a bargain – but you should be extra meticulous about making sure everything is in order and always asking yourself, “What’s the catch?”

ignore warning signs

When the very car you long for is for sale and your boat really floats, it can be tempting to ignore small weaknesses. However, make sure you don’t sugarcoat anything that might indicate a serious underlying problem.

For example, if the air conditioning isn’t working, it may just need to be refueled relatively cheaply – or it could be a sign that one of the components needs expensive repairs. Don’t be fooled by your desire for a specific model for the latter option.

Trust the seller expert tips if you’re buying second hand

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