Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Car Salesman Confidential: 

How To Buy A Used Car

It's All About Who You Can Trust

By Mark McDonald |   |  

In recent years, with the transaction price of the average new 
car climbing past $30,000, and the sluggish economy, more 
and more people are electing to keep their cars a little longer, 
or buy used. So the question is, how do you keep from getting 
stuck with a bad used car? Here are my suggestions, 
as a ten year veteran of car sales:

1. Establish a Relationship With a Salesperson
Any time you buy from a person you've never met, 
whether he's a salesman for a dealership or some guy on eBay, 
it's a bit of a gamble. The seller may be a straight shooter, 
and the car he's selling may be perfectly fine. Or he may 
be a con artist and the car may have serious problems with it.
 In my opinion, a good strategy is to find a salesperson 
you trust -- maybe the man or woman you bought your 
last new car from -- and work through them. 
When it comes time to buy something used, call them up 
and tell them what you're looking for. If he's smart, your 
salesman will steer you to a car you'll be happy with, 
if for no other reason than he wants to sell you more cars 
in the future.

2. Buy From a Large Dealership With a Good Reputation
I'm not knocking small "Mom & Pop" dealerships, 
because I have many friends who work at places 
like this and there's nothing wrong with the cars
they sell. But I think you have a slightly better chance 
of finding a good used car at a large, well-established 
dealership. There are two reasons. First, large dealerships 
have service departments, whereas your local "dirt lot"
 probably does not. Chances are good that any car you 
find at a large dealership has at least gone through a 
basic Safety Inspection to make sure the tires are good, 
the brakes work, and nothing is wrong with the steering. 
Most dealerships will also check the fluids and change 
the oil. With a small lot you just have to take the seller's
 word for it that the car is mechanically sound, or arrange 
to have your own mechanic inspect it. Second, a big
 dealership has a bigger reputation to protect. They 
know that if they abuse you, you'll go on line and write 
a bad review or complain to their corporate office, and 
nobody wants that. So they go to greater lengths to 
make sure their used cars are sound, and they'll be more 
responsive to your complaints after the sale. Let me give 
you a quick example. A used car manager at a large 
dealership I know went to an auction and bought five 
used BMWs for a song. On the outside, these cars
 looked fine -- but every single one of them had 
frame damage. 
I'm not sure how this guy expected to get away with 
it, but his plan was to sell these cars without disclosing 
the damage and make a killing. But when their history 
was discovered this guy was fired – instantly -- and the 
cars never even made it onto the dealer's lot. A large 
organization just cannot afford to do business like that.

 A Cautionary Word About CarFax. CarFax is great . . . 
but don't put all your faith in it. CarFax only reports 
what's reported to it. If two people have an accident, 
but choose not to report it, it won't show up on the 
CarFax. Second, just because CarFax says the car has 
been in an accident, it doesn't mean it's a "bad vehicle" 
or you shouldn't buy it. Read the fine print. Was the 
vehicle unable to move on its own power, and had to 
be towed away? Or was it able to be driven away? 
The fact is, the collision might have been a minor 
incident with only minimal damage, but because 
the Police were called and a report was taken, it 
shows up on CarFax as an "accident." Third, even
 if a vehicle is involved in a collison, 
if the damage has been repaired properly there's 
no reason to avoid buying the car. See if records 
are available, and ask how it was repaired and by whom.

Car Salesman Confidential 1024 680

A Word About Rental Cars.
Many times, dealerships will supplement their 
used car inventory with vehicles from rental 
car companieshttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png. The reason is simple: they need
 the inventory. A dealership can't just sit around 
and wait for customers to trade in what's popular,
 so they go out and buy desirable vehicles from 
rental companies, or at auction. A lot of people
 are put off by this, but they shouldn't be. 
If a car is in good condition it shouldn't matter 
who the previous owner was. (In fact, you may 
even have a better chance that the vehicle was 
properly maintained because most rental companies
 perform regular maintenance.) Rentals will 
typically have a little higher mileage on them
 than comparable privately owned cars, but that 
also means they're priced lower. I have sold 
many a used car that came from a rental fleet 
and had no complaints yet.

3. Buy a Certified Used Car
If you've been out cruising dealerships lately you
 may have noticed some of the cars have stickers
 on them saying things like "Certified" or 
"Certified Pre-Owned." What this means is that 
the car has gone through an inspection process, 
been serviced and, if necessary, repaired, and is 
being sold with an extended warranty. For example,
 if you come across a Certified Honda, it means that
 the regular 5 years or 60,000 mile drivetrain warranty 
has been extended to 7 years, 100,000 miles.
 This is a tremendous value. A certified car has a 
warranty on it that, in some ways, is better than 
the original factory warranty. Certificationhttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png offers
 every used car buyer extra "peace of mind" that 
they haven't bought a lemon, and knowledge 
that the manufacturer stands behind it. 
Of course, a certified car will also cost a little more
 than a car that isn't certified, but in my opinion it's
 worth it. A Word About "As Is" Vehicles. 
Most of the used cars found on dealership lots 
have a sticker called the "Buyer's Guide" or 
"As Is" that tells you whether or not the car has 
any warranty left on it. Pay attention to this sticker. 
If it says "As Is," it means As Is -- you're buying the 
car just as it sits, with no warranty. There's an old 
saying in the car biz that, if you buy an "As Is" 
vehicle and you drive it off the lot and it breaks 
into two pieces, you own both pieces. The dealership
 is under no obligation whatsoever to fix that 
vehicle for you. Here's the thing. If you discover a 
problem with an "As Is" vehicle before you complete
 the paperwork or drive it off the lot, most dealerships
will probably fix it for you -- depending on what it is.
 If it's a minor cosmetic issue, like a broken cupholder 
or soiled carpet, probably not. But if it's something
 major, like a bad headlight or mechanical issue, 
they probably will. Just be sure to get any promises
 in writing on the "We Owe" (that's the document 
the dealer uses to remind us of what we owe
 the customer). Verbal representations in the
middle of a sale tend to get forgotten, or can 
be distorted by memory, so always get it in writing.

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