Buying a second hand car is generally a cheaper alternative to buying from a new or used car dealership. Often times, though, it isn’t as cheap as it may first seem, because there are many things you must do before you drive off in your new (old) car. Some people have really great experience with buying second-hand vehicles, but if you’re not careful, that cheaper car you thought was a steal could end up being a lemon that costs you thousands of dollars in repairs just to make it road worthy.
The biggest disadvantage to buying a second-hand car is that there is no warranty whatsoever, unless you are lucky enough to find a car that is only a few years old that has a transferable warranty. What you see is what you get most of the time. At first glance, a vehicle with a nice clean paint job and a spotless interior may seem like a gift from the heavens above, but don’t let that lure you into shelling out your money just yet. Be sure to bring a mechanic to have the vehicle inspected thoroughly. That new fresh paint could just be hiding rust that could become a huge problem in the future costing you thousands in repairs at your neighborhood body shop.
Another huge issue with second-hand vehicles that many people seem to forget about when buying, is that the owner of that nice shiny car you want might not tell you everything there is to know about it. Sure, anyone can tell you that the car was babied for all of its miles on the road, and that it was never in an accident, but words aren’t even half of the story. Always get a Carfax report on any used vehicle you are planning to purchase so you can see just what it went through during its life-to-date. It’s money very well spent.
Buying second-hand cars that don’t require maintenance can even be an expensive proposition. Many times, you are buying these cars from strangers, and that means you’re only worth as much as your first impression, and the money in your wallet. You won’t be able to work out a “payment plan”, or a loan with terms. You have to have the whole price of the car with you, preferably in cash, when you go to buy the car. Many people have trouble saving and carrying around thousands of dollars at one time. If you’re one of those people, buying a second-hand car might not be your best choice.
All in all, buying a second-hand car can be a very risky endeavor. However, if you just take a few simple steps, and use your best judgment during your purchase, it can be a lot less painful. Check the car thoroughly until you are satisfied with what you are buying. If you aren’t satisfied, move on to another car, or stop in at your local car dealership.