Pur­chas­ing that Used Car– Let us HELP

Car Buy­ing Guide – Used Cars

It is a fact that not every­one can afford to buy a spank­ing new Suzuki Grand Vitara or Chevy Cruze. Whether it is just about your bud­get or you just pre­fer a car hav­ing been “broke” in before, there are a few things that are impor­tant when buy­ing a used car.

1) Get an inspec­tion and a writ­ten repair esti­mate from a mechanic

This is very impor­tant. When buy­ing any used car, whether from some­one you know well or through a clas­si­fied adver­tise­ment, you should ensure that a rep­utable mechanic inspects it thor­oughly and fill out an esti­mate on how much repairs the car will need. This is impor­tant as the car you buy must be worth the money you pay; it does not make sense pay­ing a lot of money for a car and then have to pay dou­ble that amount in repairs.


2) Get a vehi­cle his­tory report…

…from the owner of the car. How­ever, you run the risk of the per­son not being hon­est but at least you have your mechanic to fig­ure out what are the prob­lems plagu­ing the car

3) Get a warranty

Any­one legit­i­mately sell­ing a car should have no issues giv­ing you an appro­pri­ate war­ranty for the used car. You need to ensure that you are ade­quately cov­ered in case of any even­tu­al­ity (for exam­ple, the car break­ing down as soon as the ink is dry on the cheque).

4) Do your research

It is impor­tant to have an idea of the model car you are look­ing for first before actively seek­ing out a used car to buy. This way you know what you are look­ing for and what to expect… thus mak­ing it less likely for you to fall vic­tim to some­one try­ing to con you. Also, sales­per­sons at used car dealear­ships are likely to try to sell you what they think is best. By doing research, you will get to know what YOU want and there­fore less sus­cep­ti­ble to sales­per­sosn try­ing to steer you oth­er­wise. You should also research the aver­age mar­ket value of the cars you are inter­ested in. If the price being asked for is much lower that what the mar­ket says it should be, I advise that you leave that car where it is. Also, make sure you do not over­pay for your car either!

5) Ques­tion Ques­tion Question

Yes it may be annoy­ing and over­bear­ing, but never shy away from ask­ing the seller as many ques­tions about the car as pos­si­ble: the age, why they are sell­ing, the con­di­tions, any issues etc.

6) Inspect the vehicle

No you do not need the mechanic for this. You should be able to do an inspec­tion of the car first before the mechanic does. Even if you do not know much about cars, there are a few things you can check. First, you can look down the trim lines to make sure every­thing is aligned well (for exam­ple the doors, the fender). Any­thing that is uneven could indi­cate dam­age to the frame. Also, the joints in the engine bay should also be straight with no signs that they have been recently welded. Under­neath, make sure there is no rust ANY­WHERE. Check the brake flu­ids (which is usu­ally clear to yel­low­ish or slightly tea coloured) and the trans­mis­sion fluid (red or pur­ple in colour). Make sure all belts and hoses are free of cracks. Inside the car, inspect seats, seat­belts and car­pets espe­cially under seat cov­ers (if any). And please, be sure to do all inspec­tions in full daylight!

Check list

7) Test drive!

Oh yes please! This is pos­si­bly everyone’s favourite part about buy­ing a new car. Give it a good ramp first. This will say a lot about the car’s abil­ity to accel­er­ate and its sus­pen­sion. Now we aren’t send­ing any­one to do drag rac­ing on the nar­row streets of Bar­ba­dos, but try to take it for a drive where you can test out the speed, accel­er­a­tion and brakes. Make sure while at a high speed the body of the car doesn’t shake; ped­als should not feel spongy or stiff when break­ing or accel­er­at­ing, nor should they shud­der under your foot. The biggest red flag on a test drive is if the car jolts into gear. This could be a sign of a faulty trans­mis­sion. Bud­get care­fully – def­i­nitely fac­tor in any repair work that needs to be done.

test drive

8) Secure all the nec­es­sary paperwork

Make sure you have orig­i­nals of every­thing where pos­si­ble – vehi­cle ser­vice his­tory, reg­is­tra­tion papers, car hand­book etc.

9) Make sure the seller is legit

If you are not work­ing with a deal­er­ship but rather an indi­vid­ual, make sure he/​she is on the up and up. Some per­sons may be try­ing to sell mul­ti­ple cars and this may indi­cate that there are not the owner of all the vehi­cles. Always, ALWAYS make sure the per­son you are buy­ing from is the owner. Some peo­ple use their fam­ily and friends to pose as own­ers in order to sell a car that is not theirs. This is very impor­tant. Surely you wouldn’t want to be strolling down the high­way to be pulled over sud­dently and being told your car was part of a heist! Well…that may not hap­pen in Barbados…but…you get the point.

10) Trust yourself

Sure, you may or may not know a lot about cars, but as long as you do your research and inves­ti­ga­tion into the used car dealer/​seller, you are armed with all the nec­es­sary tools to make an informed judge­ment about whether o r not you should by a par­tic­u­lar car. Knowl­edge is power; as long as you have that you can’t go wrong!

©Arti­cle of Caribbean Dreams Mag­a­zine
©Photo 1 from word​press​.com
©Photo 2 from auto​mo​bilead​dicts​.com
©Photo 3 from dri​ve​mex​.com

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