Avoiding Common Used Car Buying Mistakes

No one wants to make a costly mistake when carrying out any kind of major purchase, with used car sales serving as a primary example. If you fail to notice an important detail about a vehicle, or make some kind of other mistake that involves you paying too much or being unaware of a major car problem, you could find yourself in a situation where you’re “upside down” on your car purchase, paying down a car loan that’s worth far more than the actual vehicle and harming your finances in multiple ways.

At Adonis Auto Group, we’re here to help. Our quality used car dealership services remove many of the potential speedbumps that come with the used car purchasing process, and we even offer bad and low-credit car loans for those who may have trouble qualifying in other locations. We’ve seen a number of mistakes made by used car buyers over the years, and we’re here to help steer you away from these and toward a hassle-free, high-quality experience that leaves you with an excellent vehicle for an affordable price.

We want to be up front with our clients, and we’ll do so here by stating that many of these mistakes trace back to a singular source: Going through a private seller for your used car instead of a reputable dealership like ours. Both for this reason and others, here are some of the top errors to avoid as you move through the used car purchasing process.

avoiding used car mistakes

Used Car Scams

While we wish it were not the case, there are several different scam types that may be attempted by dishonest individuals or entities on the market. These include some of the following scam attempts:

  • VIN cloning: All vehicles have a VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number. VIN cloning is the practice of using a VIN from a legally registered car to hide the identity of a stolen or salvaged car – it is illegal, but some scammers still attempt it.
  • Curbstoning: This is another illegal scheme where scammers will attract people to the side of the road or a vacant lot, then sell cars without the required permits or licenses – and will often try to pull the wool over the eyes of clients.
  • Odometer fraud: One of the simplest and oldest used car scams that still takes place today is odometer fraud, also called odometer rollback fraud. This involves disconnecting, resetting or otherwise changing a car’s odometer to misrepresent the number of miles on the car.
  • Gift card scams: A scam type that’s becoming common in several industries, including used car purchases, is the scammer asking the buyer to pay for something by putting money on a gift card, like a Google Play or iTunes card. They then tell the buyer to give then the numbers on the back of the card – but will often simply take the money or will lie to you about what’s going to happen next. If any used car salesperson is asking you to pay via this method, you should not accept.

Branded Titles

One other specific scam type that we felt deserved its own section is the realm of branded titles. A branded title describes a situation where there are problems with a vehicle that are known by the seller, such as a salvage title or a few other types (every state has its own terms here). Salvage titles might include areas like junk, reconstruction, non-repairable, lemon, theft recovery, or various forms of specific damage like flood, fire or hail.

Simply put, these vehicles are rarely, if ever, worth it. Private sellers might try to offer you a great “deal” on one of these cars, but the reality is they’ll start having serious problems soon after you purchase them – that’s why their titles are listed this way to begin with. Unless you’re a vehicle service expert confident you can assess the value of the vehicle despite its past issues, we recommend staying away from any branded title purchases.

Failure to Test Drive

One possible used car purchase mistake that could take place in multiple settings: Failure to test-drive the vehicle in person. While online purchasing has become far easier today than it was even a decade ago, and is an ideal way to evaluate a given used car lot’s options and which would be best for you, it’s still ideal to get the feel of the car itself with a test drive and other forms of basic in-person inspection. Not only will you get an idea of how the car feels and drives, you’ll quickly learn whether there’s enough space, how comfortable you are driving, and other important variables.

Other Mistakes

Finally, here are a few other errors to steer clear of when purchasing a used car:

  • Improper budgeting: You should go into any used car purchase situation with a solid budget, one you’ve spent time laying out based on your finances and expenses. You can plan for a little wiggle room here, but don’t allow yourself to move well outside your budget.
  • Lack of research: For any car you’re closely considering, you should be using Kelly Blue Book, vehicle history reports and other areas of research to ensure you’re getting a great vehicle.
  • Financing confusion: If you’ll be looking for financing assistance for your used car, this is another area you should be inquiring about well in advance. You should understand your options and whether a given car loan is a good deal for you.

For more on avoiding used car purchasing errors, or to learn about any of our used car lot services, speak to the staff at Adonis Auto Group today.

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