When buying a used car, you want to get the best possible deal you can. The Internet has made it easy for anyone to post ads for their cars for sale, and easy for anyone want to buy one. Unfortunately, private used car sales through online ads can be downright dangerous if you don’t take precautions.
There have been many reports about online ads offering used cars being a front for a scamming, or worse, operation. If you are lucky, you could just end up paying way too much for a used car. At worst, you could pay with your life. Before arranging for a meet-up to close a deal that seems too good to be true (and it probably is), take the trouble to do some research on the car.
Check online for the car’s or truck’s value
You can always check to see how much the particular model and year of vehicle you like is going for. Get a ballpark figure and work with that. As a side note, truck drivers should consider applying for a fuel card for better control of their fuel costs.
Get a Vehicle History Report
The fastest way to find out the facts about the car you are considering for purchase is to get a vehicle history report. If the seller doesn’t have one yet, ask for the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and send to service providers recommended by The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, from which you can also get title information. You can get important data about the car including accident reports and dealership service history, and others. Carfax and AutoCheck are private companies that can provide more detailed reports, but they cost upwards of $29.99 for one report. If the seller refuses to give up the VIN, just walk away.
Arrange to have the car checked by a mechanic
Unless you know a lot about cars, you may not be able to accurately assess the condition of a used car. Engage the services of a good mechanic to give it a thorough inspection and test drive, and get a go-signal before anything else. Never go alone to a meet-up, especially if you are carrying cash, and make sure you are in a public area in broad daylight. If you feel uncomfortable, leave at once.
Private used car sales can be perfectly aboveboard, but sometimes it’s just not worth the trouble. It is better to go to a reputable used car dealership in your area, which will not only provide you with all the bona fides you need, they also have good after-sales service.