Getting a good deal on a used car includes more than just the price – you need to know exactly what you’re paying for. Buying a car is a major financial decision, and it’s important you have all the information possible to ensure that decision is an informed one.
Here are the questions to ask before buying a used vehicle:
Why is the car for sale?
A recent study shows that 64% of Canadian used car buyers need a new car, and 36% want one. It’s important to know which category your seller (or, more importantly, their vehicle) falls under as this can provide some clues as to whether it’s the right car for you. Let’s say the seller is expecting twins and needs to upgrade to a larger vehicle. In this case, their used sedan could be the perfect starter car for you. But, say the owner wants to get a new car because the maintenance costs were becoming unmanageable. If this is the case, you may want to think twice about the vehicle.
What is its history?
This is a big one. You will have no idea of a vehicle’s condition or what it has in store for the future without knowing what’s happened in its past. Does it have any unfixed safety recalls? How many owners has it had? Has it ever been registered in the U.S.? Has the vehicle been in an accident? If so, was it properly repaired? While a vehicle with accident history can still be a great buy (and could be a great opportunity to get into a more premium model than you could have afforded otherwise), it’s important to know about this history to ensure that it’s been properly repaired and the vehicle is safe to drive. All this information is available in a CARPROOF Vehicle History Report – make sure you ask for one before you consider signing the deal.
What condition is the vehicle in?
A vehicle’s current condition has a lot to do with how well it’s been maintained. Did it have regular oil changes? Has the alignment been checked regularly? The cost of vehicle ownership depends on far more than just the purchase price, and this information will help you gauge future maintenance costs and get an idea of how well the car has been cared for.
You can also check the CARPROOF report for a Top Condition™ badge (shown below). Vehicles with these badges have been registered as either Certified Pre-Owned or Certified Previous Daily Rental, are free of unfixed safety recalls, have an active vehicle history report and are free of damage over $5000.
How was it driven?
A vehicle’s odometer reading can give some clues about its condition, but there is information you should know beyond just the number of kilometers it’s covered. Were most of those kilometers racked up on the highway, or were they all from stop-and-go city driving? This will make a difference in how much wear-and-tear these kilometers have had on the vehicle – so ask the question to help with your information gathering.
Can I take it for a test drive?
If the answer is no, walk away. The test drive is your chance to get into the vehicle and test out all the little things yourself. Are the seats comfortable? Will your golf clubs fit in the trunk? Do you like the way it drives? Is the steering loose or tight? Does it make any funny noises that could indicate mechanical problems? These are just a start. Do your homework before the test drive so you’re prepared to assess everything that’s important.
Can I take it for a pre-purchase inspection?
Again, if the answer is no, walk away – the buyer should have no problem allowing you to have the vehicle inspected. A pre-purchase inspection is performed by a licensed mechanic or auto technician who will give the vehicle a thorough inspection to determine its cosmetic, mechanical and safety condition. The mechanic will pinpoint any existing conditions and highlight potential issues that could arise in the future, and will investigate to make sure any previous damage has been properly repaired. By learning more about what’s happening under the hood, you could end up more confident that you’re making a great purchase, decide that it’s not the right ride for you, or uncover some details to leverage in your price negotiations. You can find more details about pre-purchase inspections, how to get one and what you should expect to pay, here.
Does it come with any extras?
Lots of things are easy to forget when you’re evaluating whether a car is right for you. Does it have two key fobs? Is there a remote starter? Does it come with winter tires? How about a spare tire, a jack, jumper cables or an emergency kit? These are all things the seller might be willing to throw in to sweeten the deal – it doesn’t hurt to ask!
Is there any warranty left?
Depending on the age of the vehicle, how it was purchased and whether it has been certified by the manufacturer, it may or may not come with a warranty. This is something to discuss with the seller – and you’ll want documentation of any extended, after-market warranty or remaining manufacturer warranty so you can confirm that it still applies.
This is a lot to remember – do yourself a favor and make notes of this information. It will help you weigh the pros and cons of every vehicle you evaluate and make an informed decision around which vehicle to choose.
For more comprehensive information about the used car buying process, check out CARPROOF’s free Used Car Buying Guide.
Thanks to you, the second-hand economy is growing in BC. Find out how it impacts you.
Whenever a used item is bought, sold, swapped, or donated, that contributes to what’s called the second-hand economy. This could be through family and friends, charities, or using online buy-and-sell sites such as Richmond Point Finder, which is one of the top resources for BC in the second-hand economy.
What It Means for You
For starters, people selling used goods earned an average of $1,000, and those seeking out second-hand items saved $780. This money is put towards everything from groceries to concert tickets, and can help feed your hobbies and passions.
On top of that, finding new homes for still-useful items is environmentally mindful, and saves over a billion products from going into landfills each year.
There are countless ways to take part in the second-hand economy that will make a lasting difference in you and your family’s daily life. Browsing and posting ads on Richmond Point Finder for items you love as a means of earning or saving some extra cash can be something you feel good about knowing you make a difference in the bigger picture.
Check back here and follow us on social for great tips on how second-hand exchanges can help you fund that summer vacation, clear your debt, buy that hockey equipment your son is looking for, or source the perfect holiday gift. The opportunities are endless.
How can you tell when someone is trying to steal your money or personal information when all you are trying to do is sell some furniture (or sell your car, or house, etc.).
The first step is very nondescript reply from a sketchy email address, or a text message if you provided a phone number with your ad. The email likely has a few numbers in it, and is at a less commonly used domain, or a domain you have never heard of. The initial reply is probably something like “do you still have it“, “is this still available?“, or “I am interested in your item“. They save their usual pitch for later, as by keeping their initial reply simple, they are much harder to detect as a scam. They will usually pick a nondescript, typically English-Canadian sounding name to use (or at least, what they perceive as typical), but use poor grammar and spelling, as well as strange diction reveals that they are not the average Canadian they claim to be. If you receive a text message, they will generally ask you to email them.
The scam pitch: They will often talk about god or religion, use words like “blessed”, make frequent reference to how “serious” they are, or babble about their job as a missionary, in the military, for green peace, or another position that they think will lend them credibility. The capitalization will be random seeming, and the phrasing will often be strange (as if it was typed in a foreign language and run through google translate). Here is a typical follow up reply.
Thanks for the prompt reply.Well am okay for the (insert title of your ad) i am highly interested in it,and i Don’t want you to worry abt the shipping because i have a shipping company that will be coming for the Pick up of the Advert at your residence as soon as payment has been made, The shipper will come for the immediate pick-up and make sure everything is clean up ok
I also want you to know that i will be paying via Money Order or Certified Check and it will contain both your asking price and the shipping fees via my shipping company and no pick up will be made until Money order is received and cashed by you i also want you to be serious about this so we can both finished this transaction in one mind, and here are the details needed so that i can mail the Money order without any delay,i lookup concluding the sale sooner. Thanks
As soon as this is received the payment will be mailed out with no further delay, Once the data’s are provided to me,i can send payment immediately.I will be expecting your reply asap.? Kindly reply back with the requested question so the purchase can be completed
Stay Blessed With Your Family
The reply seems odd, but since many don’t see how they could be scammed when they aren’t the ones paying, they might fall for it and continue to reply, which would lead them to a response like this one:
The payment which will be delivered to you 3 to 5 working days by next week. Kindly mark the ads sold on the site right now as well have it keep intact for me OK. And include an excess fund meant for my mover agent fee’s. As soon as you get it, take it to your bank for instantly cashed, You will deduct your selling price, And get the remaining balanced sent to my mover agent via western union money transfer or money gram store around you.
Which I will send you his information later. … I hope you do understand me clearly. I’m as well giving you $50 for the inconvenience and for the assistance. I await for your reply as soon as you got my message. I wish you a great day ahead.
Of course, they aren’t actually sending you real money. The cheque will bounce, or be found to be fake, in any case, you won’t end up with the money they send, and if you send the “mover” money, then you will lose more than you ever stood to gain.
If you are selling on any classified website, don’t agree to any transactions that are not face to face, and don’t send personal information to strangers online (except for what you need to tell people to coordinate a meet-up). Though the Richmond Point Finder community is full of friendly people who just want to save (or make) a few bucks with used goods or services, any time you are online you should keep your wits about you, and remember your own safety.