Purchasing a car can be a daunting task and it’s all too easy to fall victim to the tricks, hidden costs and general dishonesty that characterizes the industry. Even though the car for sale may seem like the perfect fit, you could still be left with a lemon. There are steps you can take to protect yourself from purchasing a lemon and make sure that everything is on the up-and-up.
Methods of protection
Never buy a car without diligently going over its paperwork first. Make sure that all numbers match up, including VINs, mileage, date plates and registration information. You should also check how many owners the vehicle has had during its lifetime. It’s common for a vehicle to be sold under a different name and have the original owner’s information removed in order to sell it. Only by comparing all of this information can you make sure that you are purchasing an unmolested vehicle.
Check out the car on the Internet before buying it in person. When purchasing used cars in sacramento from a dealership, be sure to read over everything carefully and don’t hesitate to ask questions about it when you first get there. If a salesman is dishonest about it, he’ll likely try to hide this from you.
When dealing with private sellers, check online for their vehicle title history. If there are plenty of records on it, ask the seller for them. You may also be able to find out whether or not the car has been declared a total loss and whether or not insurance has been paid out on it at all.
Never pay in cash. Until you own the vehicle and can move it under your own power, don’t pay a single cent. Only after the title is in your name should you be able to use your own money to buy an auto insurance policy.
If you’re buying a vehicle in a state where the seller isn’t required by law to provide a current insurance certificate, ask for proof of such coverage or pay just enough to make sure that the car is insured.
If a vehicle enthusiast tells you that their car is “as good as new,” don’t believe him. Everyone has an opinion, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right. If a car is in good condition, you should be able to look into the engine and see that it’s clean and well-maintained.
If a vehicle’s engine light comes on during the test drive, don’t give him your money. The trouble codes will tell you exactly what’s wrong with it so this is a chance to walk away from the sale if there are problems that are too serious to overlook.