The price of a car should always reflect the quality. Whilst there are many honest sellers out there, there are unfortunately a lot of dodgy dealers and scam artists who will overcharge for a car that is in poor condition. To avoid being ripped off by these sellers, here are five tips that you should follow when buying your next car.

Do your vehicle research

It’s a good idea to always research a vehicle before buying it. When it comes to used cars, you should always have a look into the car’s individual history using the VIN – this can tell you if the car has received any previous unmentioned damage or if the mileage on the odometer is correct (some shady sellers may roll it back). You should also check the title history to see who the licensed owners have been (this could ensure that the car isn’t stolen).

On top of researching the individual car, it may benefit you to research the make and model too. You should check what prices other sellers are offering to ensure that you’re being given a good deal. Make sure to also look out for news on recalls or recurring faults that a certain model may have.  

Be cautious of meeting in a strange place

An honest seller will have no qualms meeting you at their home. If a seller tries to get you to meet up somewhere strange and doesn’t supply their home address on their online ad or on any paperwork, it could be a sign that they’re up to something dodgy – most likely they want to sell you a faulty car and don’t want you knowing their address so that you can’t attempt to get a refund. Reluctance to supply a phone number could be another clear sign that this is the case.

Bring a mechanic along

If you have any doubts about a used car’s condition, it’s worth bringing a mechanic along with you to view the car. The mechanic will be able to check that there are no faults that haven’t been mentioned by the seller. This could prevent you buying a car with secret mechanical problems.

Know your legal rights

It’s important to know your legal rights as a buyer. If you have been given false information on a car’s condition, you’re in your right to seek compensation from the seller – by hiring an attorney that specialises in lemon law, you may be able to get your money back. You similarly shouldn’t feel heavy-handedly pressured into a sale, nor should you be asked to pay more than the original asking price.

Always take a test drive

Many faults won’t become noticeable until you take the car for a ride. Always take a test drive of the vehicle before buying – if the seller does not give you the option of a test drive, it could be a sign that they’re hiding something and you should be wary of following through with a sale.  

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