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What the Dealers Do Not Want You to Know
So you want to buy a used car. It is scary, because there are so many places out there that offer used cars to you. But, you want the best price that you can find, so where do you look? Who do you turn to? Before you even begin shopping, it is important to do your homework. Check out your local classified ads to give you an idea of what the price of the make and model that you are looking for. Make sure to also look for Blue Book values in the high and low range so that you know approximately what the car is worth.
Another great source for those who are interested in purchasing used cars is CARFAX. This is a web based service that will supply you with a report on the vehicleís history. All you have to do is provide a VIN number and whether the car was in an accident or had major work done to it, you will know. There is a program set up by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well. It will tell you if there has been any recalls in the history of the car that you are going to purchase. It is also highly recommended to make sure that you have any vehicle that you are considering purchasing inspected by a trusted mechanic prior to buying the vehicle.
There are several places that you can look before going straight to a used car dealer. One of them is your local Classified Ads. You will see many, many cars priced at well below retail. When you take a car to the dealer for trade in, you are usually offered something well below wholesale price. A lot of people try to sell what they have without trading them in. This allows them to at least make several hundred more then what the dealer has to offer and you will not have to pay dealer prices.
Another great place to look is at Online Auctions. Online Auctions are a great place to find bargains. You do not have to go from dealer to dealer and look to see if they have what you want. In the comfort of your own home, you can look for auctions with no reserves and bid away. The only drawback is to make sure that the car is local; otherwise you will be paying some money to have to get your new used car if you win. The other thing that you need to be aware of is that you can put in the total amount that you are willing to pay and then just sit back and watch. You have to be patient. You may not get what you want the first few times.
Public car auctions are yet another great place to find used cars at cheaper prices. They are generally open to the public and do not require you to have dealerís licenses. These types of auctions in general are an excellent place to buy cars at wholesale prices. There are a lot of different types of car auctions out there including: Auction Repossessions from banks and other credit companies, Police Auctions and Estate Auctions. Keep in mind though, that sometimes in Police Auctions that what you are buying might not be the whole thing. The car can sometimes be stripped out, but if you have the wherewithal to fix cars, then by all means, go for it. Most public auctions are advertised in the newspapers about 30 days prior to the auction. Make sure if you are going to attend on to go prepared to pay for your purchase in full.
New Care Dealerships
Okay, so you are wondering why the heck you would go to a new car dealership to get a used car. Well, it is simple, since new car buyers usually trade in their old cars; the dealerships always have an extensive amount of used cars to unload. The advantage here is that there is a wider range of makes and models to choose from. They also provide reconditioning to the vehicle before they resell them. Buyer beware though, they actually may attempt to persuade you to purchase more than what you actually are looking for. Make sure to have your game plan mapped out before going to a dealership.
Used Car Dealerships
You can find a used car dealer virtually on every corner of every town in the United States. They will sometimes be very tiny with only a small stock of cars, or they can be part of a dealership where there will be hundreds of used cars for sale. The difference between used and new car dealers is that the prices at used car dealerships is much less than if you were to purchase it at a new car dealer. Most used car dealers are much easier to bargain with when making your purchase. What you need to be aware of is that the quality of these cars is not as wonderful as those that you would purchase from a new car dealership. The selection may not be as wonderful either.
In the past several years, there has been a big increase in public auctions as a way of purchasing cars and trucks. It used to be the auctions were only for licensed dealers. Fortunately for the benefit of the average Joe who is looking for a used vehicle, there are a lot of used car auctions that are open to the public. What you need to be aware of when it comes to auctions is that the selection and quality of the vehicles will vary. One week you may see top of the line vehicles and then the next nothing to write home about. The prices that you see at the auctions are substantially lower than at the dealerships. Just keep in mind, you see what you get. There is no chance for you to have the vehicle inspected before you purchase it and all sales are final. You also need to be aware that a bidding frenzy could occur. Just be careful when going to a car auction.
Buying a car from a private seller has its ups and downs. On the positive side, you will be able to talk to the owner and see how the car was actually cared for. You can also get a much more reasonable price because they are usually priced as per Blue Book values. On the downside, it can be a hassle to go from private owner to private owner to look at several different cars to determine which is better. This means that you would have to set up several different appointments and then if you donít act quickly, they may sell to someone else. Buyer Beware: if you see someone with a bunch of cars for sale, they actually may be a dealer. Always ask to see the title and registration of the car. If it is a few days old, be very wary.
About the Author: Bryan Matikcars an ex-salesman in the auto industry and is a regular writer and consultant for Sacramento Used Cars and works on Ethics with dealers nationwide.