Spending most of my savings makes me anxious but when my car dies I don’t have a choice.
Luckily, my boyfriend’s father Chuck comes to my rescue and guides me through the world of used cars.
Our mission: to find a cheap car that’s not a dud.
Random Things I've Learned About Buying Used Cars
Salvaged Cars - These are cars that have been in bad accidents. So bad that the insurance company totals them and sells them off. When you’re looking on Craigslist and it says “Title Status: Rebuilt" that’s what that means.
PROs of Salvaged Cars - These cars will automatically be cheaper (or least they should be).
CONS of Salvaged Cars - They could have some serious covered-up problems.
Personal Story - The first car I looked at was a salvaged car and after taking it to my mechanic to get checked out, I decided not to buy it.
Mileage - It matters. Research your specific car and see how many miles it will run before it starts to break down.
Check out NADA to look up and compare book prices.
Think about how long you want this car to last you and ask your mechanic if it will do just that.
Make a list of your priorities and then Google it.
Rumor on the street is car dealerships have a $2000 flexibility (And when I say this, I mean, Chuck heard it from someone).
What questions to ask when you look for a vehicle:
1) Where did the car come from?
2) How many owners did it have? (the less owners = in theory, a better car)
3) What is its history? (ask for a car fax)
4) How many miles does it have?
5) If you're looking at a dealership ask about the warranty. If there’s something wrong with it, you want to make sure you don’t have to pay for it when you drive it off the lot.
6) If it’s a local private party, ask if you can take it to your auto mechanic and have it looked over. If they say no, walk away. You don’t want to work with people who aren’t transparent.
7) Look underneath the car for rust.
8) Look for scratch marks.
9) Make sure there’s a manual. How are you going to maintain it if you don’t know how.
10) Ask them, what is its weakest link? What is the first thing you’re going to have to replace?
11) Ask if they have a record of all of its mechanical work. If they do, look over it and if you buy it take it with you.
12) Make sure it has a spare tire and tire changer.
If people are shady or the car is shady be willing to walk away.
Also, forums are your friend. Do your research. When you figure out what car you want to buy make sure you know its reputation. How expensive is it to maintain. Do you have to order parts from Europe every single time you get a tune up? You want to know these things so you know what you're getting yourself into.
If you’re buying a used car, assume it’s a dud until proven otherwise.
Bring snacks. This is a serious suggestion. The last thing you want to be is hungry and looking at used cars.
Smile, even when the process gets frustrating. It helps when you have a partner in crime who has good jokes.