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Buying a Used Car: 3 Red Flags to Watch Out For

  • February 15, 2019
  • By Grace
Buying a Used Car: 3 Red Flags to Watch Out For

The day has arrived! You’ve built up enough cash in your savings account and maxed out your mileage on your current vehicle— you’re ready to buy your next vehicle. Perhaps you’re looking for a brand new luxury vehicle to reward all of your hard work or maybe you’re opting for a pre-owned model to keep your savings in excellent shape.

Whatever route you decide to go, you probably already know there’s a lot more to buying a new vehicle than picking out the perfect keychain to complement your new set of keys. If you’re struggling to navigate the used car buying process, we’re here to help you avoid the red flags you may come across so you can drive off of the lot in a vehicle that’s perfect for you! And not to worry, we’ve included some pro tips too to make sure you’re on the road to buying the vehicle of your dreams.

1) Red Flag: Vehicle Quality Isn’t Quite Right

When you find a used car that’s your perfect color, make, and model, it’s hard not to get too excited and start planning your next road trip in your new set of wheels. But before you start doing any trip planning — you need to check off all of the safety and vehicle quality features on a test-drive. Test drives are important not only to visualize how the vehicle will fit into your lifestyle, but to also evaluate the quality of the pre-owned car you’re considering.

Here are some things you should pay attention to on your test-drive to make sure you’re getting a fair deal on a car that will last for many miles ahead:

  • Engine lights on
  • Mileage
  • Irregular noises at the start or as you operate vehicle
  • Steering feel
  • Brake feel
  • Spotty new paint
  • Mildewy smells
  • DIY, patched-like interior

2) Red Flag: The Price Doesn’t Match Your Research

Prices may fluctuate depending on where you’re buying your vehicle. For example, a used Volkswagen may run for a higher price in San Francisco than if you’re buying in Evanston, Wyoming. Check Kelley Blue Book to evaluate the market value of the vehicle you’re shopping for. If the price is much higher or lower than the listed price, you may want to run from this deal.

3) Red Flag: A Controlling Seller

If you find yourself dealing with a salesperson that wants control over the test-drive or won’t let you test-drive at all, you may as well bring your business elsewhere. Always, always test-drive before buying a used (or new) vehicle.

Pro Tip: Search Locally For Good Deals

Dealing locally is usually the best way to go whether you’re shopping for a new or used car. If you do find a used vehicle you love, just make sure you’ve done your due diligence! Make sure to do a test-drive and do some research on whatever agency is selling you the vehicle, and finally, go through a complete evaluation process of the car itself before you sign on the dotted line. Since the car will have some wear, you do have to be extra careful when shopping for used models.

When shopping for luxury vehicles, the vetting process is often even more rigorous since the investment tends to be more substantial. If you’ve got your eye on a specific Mercedes model but buying a used model seems like more work than you want it to be, you may want to try searching for a new Mercedes for sale Pembroke Pines in Florida for example. Local dealerships often have the best deals on new and used models so just adjust your search whether you’re in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, or Clearwater.

Pro Tip: Always Get the Vehicle Inspected

Find a local mechanic to do a proper vehicle inspection before you actually go through with the purchase. Having a mechanic’s eye may help you identify red flags you wouldn’t have noticed, and help you avoid any major headaches in the future!

Pro Tip: Check for Recalls

Recalls on a vehicle could mean dangerous mechanical issues, so this step is super important to include on your used car shopping checklist. Check for vehicle recall history before committing to a new or used car.

The Fine Print

Just like the small printed details on your contract, following these tips carefully is important. Buying a car is a big investment, so you probably want to be quite sure of your decision before putting your hard-earned dollars down. Pay attention to each little detail and ultimately, follow your gut when shopping for a vehicle. With these tips and a healthy dose of common sense, you’ll definitely make a purchase decision that you’re happy with!

By Grace, February 15, 2019
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