GUEST POST BY JOEL SALZMAN
While the smell of a brand spanking new car is irresistible, not everyone
can afford one. If you can’t, the options available to you are clear; get a
bicycle, take public transit or walk. If none of those options are viable,
your other choice is to purchase a used vehicle. To many, the sound of that
sends shivers down your spine and not in a good way. I’m here to tell you
that your instincts are not wrong – for the most part.
There are so many used car dealers that give the industry a bad name.
Typically, dealers buy their cars at dealer-only auctions. What is
important is what they do to these cars from the time they purchase them
until the time they are sold. There is no secret that mileage decreases the
value of a vehicle. If an unscrupulous dealer spins back the odometer, he
can potentially double his profit and unfortunately this crime still
occurs. The other most common faux pas is that they will sell a car with
the knowledge that it has a major hidden problem.
Too many dealers will purchase a car from the auction, wash it, take
pictures of it and advertise it for sale. No inspection and no repairs are
done. If the potential buyer doesn’t notice anything or isn’t very
knowledgeable, the dealer has just made a tidy profit without having to
incur any additional expenses. The buyer will be the loser if there are
problems with the car.
By now, you’re probably asking yourself if it’s even worth considering a
pre-owned purchase. The answer is a thundering yes.
The key is protecting yourself from buying a lemon. What can you do about
it? The following are the three most important questions you can ask when
looking to buy a used car:
1. Do you mind if I have my mechanic inspect it?
If the dealer tells you that he’s too busy or that his insurance does not
allow the vehicle to leave his lot unless it’s sold, or anything else of
that nature, back out right away because he knows something that he doesn’t
want your mechanic to find out.
2. Do you have a list of the repairs done to it prior to sale, and the
bills to back it up?
If he gives you a story about paying his mechanic cash under the table for
parts and labour and therefore has no receipts, chances are it’s because he
hasn’t done anything to the car.
3. Do you offer extended warranties?
All licensed dealers have access to extended warranties if they are
licensed and in good standing. If they can’t offer one, it’s usually
because they have tried to “beat the system” by selling cars with major
hidden vices, relying on the warranty companies to fix their problems, and
have since been banned.
Try: When shopping for a used car, talk to someone who is knowledgeable
about pre-owned vehicles, if you are feeling unsure about a given prospect.
If the dealer seems shady or evasive, he’s probably not honest. Move on to
the next one.
Joel Salzman is THE Honest Used Car Salesman and owner of Elphie Auto in
Dorval, Quebec, specializing in pre-owned vehicles for any budget. He can
be reached for private consultations in person, over the phone or online.
Joel can be reached at 514-773-9255 and firstname.lastname@example.org.