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5 Things to Avoid When Buying a Used Car

5 Things to Avoid When Buying a Used Car

Many financial advisers recommend buying a pre-owned vehicle instead of a new one. This certainly make sense. There are so many wonderful used cars under $10,000 that look and feel new. In this guide, we talk about the five things to avoid when buying a used car so that you can truly get all the benefits of purchasing a reliable and safe pre-owned vehicle without the stress.

1. Avoid surprises.
Older cars will likely need more repairs. The good news is that there are more online resources than ever where you can go to learn more about the usual problems, repair costs, and predicted reliability of the car makes and models you are interested in.
Read used car reviews or check out dedicated owner websites. Chances are, someone somewhere on the internet is talking about the particular problems of the vehicle you are thinking of buying. Simply Google the name of the car and the word “problems” to get a list of the common issues associated with it.

2. Avoid salvaged vehicles.
Salvaged vehicles are cars that were acquired by insurance companies after being totaled and then sold at auction to salvage companies that put them back on the market with “washed” titles and the odometer turned back to show lower miles. You want to avoid such vehicles at all costs. Check if the car you want to buy has a clean title by going to Carfax where you can verify its mileage and see its ownership trail.

3. Avoid getting ripped off by “curbstoners.”
When you buy a preowned vehicle from an individual instead of a car dealership, you’re doing a private-party purchase. It’s one of the cheapest ways to purchase used cars under $10,000 because you don’t have to pay for a salesperson’s commission or the dealership’s overhead costs.

However, private-party sales are largely unregulated, so don’t enjoy all the consumer protection laws that apply to licensed car dealerships. It’s up to you to protect yourself against unlicensed car dealers that try to disguise themselves as private-party sellers. They are called curbstoners—and they are essentially illegal dealers who have several cars available at once. They have no real idea about the history of the vehicles they are selling.

The best way to identify a curbstoner is to search for their address on Google. If the results show that there are many cars for sale in that address, you may have found an illegal car dealer.

4. Avoid costly surprises.
Always have the car checked out by a mechanic before purchasing it. You will have to pay for the inspection out of pocket, but don’t worry—this extra layer of due diligence will save you a lot of money (and from a lot of headaches) in the long run.

5. Avoid getting pressured into a deal.
Whether you’re intending to buy used cars under $10,000 from a preowned vehicle dealership or from a private seller, it’s important to have all your ducks in a row. Do your comparisons and research at home before seeing the seller in person. You can find many used cars under $10,000 on Savannah Pennysaver. Compare prices from different sellers so you have a clear idea how much the preowned vehicle you want sells for, on average. When the seller knows that you know your stuff, they are less likely to pressure you into a deal.