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Buying & Selling Used Cars for the Best Price
As used cars age, finding them for sale in good condition becomes increasingly difficult. At the same time, they continuously lose marketable value. How can we find good values when purchasing, and get a fair price when it comes time to sell? Continue reading to find out...
When buying any used car, overall condition must be evaluated and weighed against the asking price. This includes the condition of interior, exterior, and mechanical components. Common issues to watch for on used cars follow:
Check the Interior for:
- Fading or Cracking Dashboard, steering wheel, pillars
- Carpet damage, spills under seats, shoe wear
- Strong musty odor, especially during HVAC operation
- Worn seats including adjustment, buttons, upholstery, cushions, air support
- Unevenly worn pedals indicating possible mistreatment
- Smoke damage including falling headliner, used ashtrays or lighter, burns, thick film on glass or other smooth surfaces
- Malfunctioning gauges, moonroof, windows, vanity lights, controls, electric accessories
- Leakage under dash including clutch and brake fluid near pedals, coolant near floor vents, water
Check the Exterior for:
- Rust around rocker panels (especially under ground effects of SC), wheel wells, under floor pan, doors, suspension components, spoilers, trunk
- Signs of accident damage such as repainting, bondo, ill fitting body panels, frame/unibody denting
- Damaged paint and clearcoat especially bumpers, ground effects, and roof
- Damaged or missing trim, molding, lamp assemblies (esp LED taillights and yellowing lenses) badging, ground effects, air dam, antenna, windows
- Wheels damaged or bent from curb rubbing and other abuse
- Sagging doors due to hinges worn from excessive load bearing
Modern vehicles have many complex mechanical components, and condition should be verified by qualified personal. If you encounter the following symptoms or others you are unfamiliar with, it is wise to seek an expert:
- Unusual sounds such as whining, whistling, howling, grinding, rubbing, rattling, knocking, tapping, or anything else which stands out. Listen in all places while car is idling and driving including, underhood, suspension, transmission, exhaust, rear of vehicle, ect
- Unusual odors such as strong sweet smell, burning, gasoline
- Uneven engine idle, backfire, or misfire
- Transmission grinding, slipping, or hesitation while driving or changing gears
- Clutch engagement near end of pedal travel, excessive pedal play, slipping or revving when shifting/accelerating
- Excessive engine or shifter movement, indicating possible torn mounts
Spongy pedal, whistling, grinding, or shaking when braking, fading or low stopping power
- Low, dirty, or contaminated fluids especially coolant, oil, and automatic transmission
- Suspension leaning, excessive bouncing, harsh ride, pulling, poor handling, or dog tracking.
- Smoke from exhaust or underhood, excluding thin light-colored condensation buildup
Some minor issues are to be expected with a used purchase, and the price you pay should be adjusted accordingly. A common method of pricing used vehicles is to determine the fair market value then deduct the average cost of repairs. Tools to determine fair market value include the Kelley blue book and points of sale such as newspaper classifieds, ebay, and autotrader magazines. Price of a used vehicle may be influenced by rare models or packages. Car clubs specializing in the rare model can offer help in these cases.
When selling your car, several factors should be considered to receive the best price.
- Level of cosmetic and mechanical maintenance
- Logs of maintenance, repair, and modification history
- The type of person buying your car, and where to find them
A car which is clean, well maintained, and in good overall condition leaves a positive impression on potential buyers. This concept is clearly demonstrated by car dealers when you visit their used car lots. Also, presenting logs or receipts to help buyers verify your cars history will increase their level of confidence when it comes time to make a purchase from you.
About the Author: This and more great information for the automobile enthusiast can be found at http://thunderbirdinfo.blogspot.com.