It’s 100% true that used car prices have shot through the roof. There is nowhere to hide.
On average, it was estimated that about $29,000 was paid for pre-owned vehicles toward the end of 2021.
This will be the first time the price for used cars exceeded the $29K mark.
This is not likely to go down anytime soon in 2022, the writing on the wall is that the average price of a used car is expected to cross the $30,000 mark for the first time ever.
That’s a lot, you know.
So before you start thinking about walking everywhere on foot in search of a used car to buy, read this first.
Be aware that not every used car will cost you all your savings.
There are still plenty of amazing deals on used cars out there.
You only need to plan ahead, know where to buy, understand what you’re looking for, and of course, stick to your budget.
Aside from this, it’s more important that you’re asking the right questions about purchasing used cars.
But what kinds of questions? Here are some of the questions you can ask the seller, (or yourself) before you decide whether or not to buy a used car.
Getting these answers means you can drive off knowing you’ve found a reliable drive instead of a car with hidden issues.
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Why Are They Selling The Car?
This question will seek to get you plenty of answers from the seller.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to ask the seller your question and let them do the talking.
This lets you garner some ideas, get to know the seller, and understand the reason why the car is put up for sale.
Who knows if the family just welcomed their first child and they need an SUV instead of that two-door coupe.
In this case, their car loss is simply your gain.
But if the seller is breaking out in a sweat or quickly changing the subject, some red flags should start going through your mind.
The owner might be trying to reduce their losses with a car that has been giving them headaches, and the last thing they could do is to sell it off.
How Long Has The Car Been in Use?
Since cars depreciate with time, most new cars lose 60% of their value after 5 years.
So, if you bought a new car for $25,000 five years ago, it’s only worth about $10,000 now.
With this, you can use the car’s age to your advantage in order to negotiate for a better price.
You have to know what you’re supposed to know before you meet with the seller.
This way, you’ll know if their sticker price is in conformity or not.
If a car has been driven for a while without too many issues, it might suggest that the car is pretty reliable.
But if someone is trying to sell a car after owning it for only a year or less, they’re probably not happy with the car for some reason.
Though this is not always the case, you need to dig deeper to make sure the seller is not just trying to sell their hooptie to you.
What Is The Mileage of The Car?
The mileage of a car matters.
A report from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration states that the average person drives above 14,000 miles each year.
All of that adds up to the wear and tear on the car.
You have to bear this in mind when you’re making your decision.
Some vehicles can pack on a crazy amount of miles without skipping a beat.
So once you know how old the car is and how many miles are on it, you can figure out pretty quickly if the seller has been running their car into the ground or only drove it on Sundays.
Are There Any Mechanical problems?
Let’s take a look under the hood—even if you don’t really know what you’re looking at.
Here’s a pro tip: the engine is the main thing you want to check out. Make sure the engine compartment is clean with no leaking fluids.
You’ll also want to be sure the car will pass a smog and safety inspection that a lot of states require.
If you’re not sure of all the ins and outs under the hood, bring along a friend or family member who knows those things.
Chances are, they would be happy to help you out, and you’ll feel better knowing you’ve got an extra set of eyes there.
Has The Car Been in Any Accidents?
A collision here or there or some dings from that narrow parking spot at the grocery store aren’t the end of the world.
But if the car has been in a major wreck that required a new engine or a lot of bodywork, you might want to tread lightly here.
Sometimes, cars that have been through major repairs will still have problems long after the car has been “fixed.”
You’ll want to have the car looked at by a trusted mechanic before moving forward with buying it.
Here is a link to the history and auction records of a vehicle that was involved in an accident but was later rebuilt and put up for sale.
This is the reason why it’s strongly advisable to run a VIN check on a used car you’re considering buying.
Above all, you should find out if there is a vehicle history report available.
A vehicle history report will give you some need-to-know info that will help you decide whether this car is for you—including accidents, open recalls, the car’s previous owners, and service history.
All of that can give you the upper hand when it comes to getting a better price too.
You can run a VIN check here – it only takes a few minutes.
All you need is the vehicle identification number (VIN) or license plate number (US and UK only).