Tuesday, May 6, 2014

used car tips & technic

How to buy used car tips & technic

Buying a used car
What you need to think about
Buying a used car is a great way of cutting the cost of your motoring
Buying a used car is a great way of cutting the cost of your driving as most new cars lose around 40% of their value in the first year.

But there are risks so it's important to take your time rather than rush into any deal, and to buy as far as possible with your head rather than your heart.

Buying A Used Car Without Getting Screwed
It's easy to get screwed with a used car, but fear no more, Jalopnik readers are here to help. Follow these steps and you should have no problem at all buying your new old car. Enjoy the ride!

 Know your limit.

    I'm talking financially and, in a way, logically. What I mean is "I have $5000 to buy this compact sedan so I save money, drive my small family and can park in the city much...oooooo look a mustang!" isn't logical and beyond what you need (no matter what your inner child says).

Research the model
    The most important thing I do and I've bought/sold a total of 20 used cars in as many years without ever having bought a lemon is:

    - Research the model to death (sometimes to a fault) to understand what model  I want, known weak points, typical repair and cost intervals and price points. I use fan/blogs for that model vehicle when possible.

Check the forums
    If buying person to person instead of through a dealership, check enthusiast forums before Craigslist. First when dealing with an individual your more likely to be able to get a better deal depending on the persons situation but with a little chat and some friendly conversation the bartering process is more likely to come out better than if dealing with a used car salesman and on top of that forum users are more apt to give deals to other users.

Plus if you go through a forum like Naxja or AlfaBB (you can tell what cars I'm looking for) you can get a lot of feedback from guys posting about the car that might know more than you, or if it is long distance forum users are often open to checking out a car for you and you'll be getting an honest opinion back. Also you can look back to the users history to see potential issues, build threads or you can more honestly see if the car has been raced or beaten on. Finally in a forum environment all the info that you might need about the car is only a few clicks away.

Look for local used-car auctions
    You likely won't be able to do a pre-vehicle inspection with your mechanic, but you will have a good opportunity to save a lot of money. You may have some gremlins to deal with, but overall you'll probably come out on top.

    My Dad has done this on his last 3 Volvo's and despite the mechanical issues he ran into with 2 out of 3 of them, he was thousands ahead of the curve compared to what e-bay or dealerships wanted for the same make, model, and year.

Find out what certified means

    Just because a car is "certified" it honestly doesn't mean all that much. Do you realize that all a certification is for most dealerships is a cheap $350-$450 powertrain warranty that's backed by the factory?

    There's only a couple of companies out there that have a VERY extensive certification process that means something. That's Honda, Merc, and Toyota.


Most dealerships use the same checklist for their used vehicles whether they certify them or not. Those 3 go completely OCD on the process and typically by the time you're done on the Honda and Toyota you've gone and made a new vehicle out of a used car after spending $2k-$3k. Don't get me started with Merc.

    Don't fall into the Certified Program Car Bullshit trap.

    Program Car - is just another fancy name for "off lease" or 90% of the time "previous rental" - That's where almost every single one of these cars comes from. Which sounds more attractive to you? "Program Car" or "Previous Rental Car"? Think about your last rental... Think about how you treated it.

Keep in mind that you're one of hundreds of asses that sat in that seat and flogged the hell out of that turd. The argument you'll get from the dealer is usually that "these cars are well maintained because they have to be on the road being rented to make revenue for the company" In actuality it's bullshit. These cars go thousands of miles over on services, mainly oil and filter etc because they are being re-rented as fast as then come in.

    Something to look for is a car that was purchased at the dealership where it was originally sold. This means a few things.

    1. The customer had a good experience the first time they purchased, good enough that they would come back and do it again.
    2. The service records may be available on the vehicle. Contrary to popular belief dealerships do not share service records with each other. The customer might keep them and if they did, that's typically the only way you'll know if the vehicle was taken care of. If the customer returned to the dealer they usually also use them for service.
    3. The dealership knows the customer and can answer more detailed questions about the vehicle and how it was used.

Don't buy on impulse

    Don't buy on an impulse. Buying on an impulse leads you to decide that you're going to buy the vehicle before you've looked at it, and that makes you do things like inspect the vehicle in the dark and/or in the rain, where you're not going to look at or see certain things. Two of my more recent used car purchases were made when I was in that mindset (I really want this car) and in these conditions (raining, at night).

    My Rabbit pickup and Volvo 240 wagon purchases ended in tears because of major rust issues I missed because the conditions weren't favorable for a thorough inspection and that my impulse to buy overcame my common sense.

Use your own mechanic
    I don't know how other dealerships do it, but we put the Carfax and the shop receipts in the car so the customer can see them as soon as they get in to look at it. Not only does it give the customer peace of mind, but it also lets them know what we've put into the car as far as repairs, maintenance, detail, and reconditioning goes. We also often allow extended test drives and have no problem with customers taking the car to their own mechanic during a test drive.

    We'd rather lose an hour of a day and have a happy customer than save an hour and spend the next year fielding complaints.

Inspect the owner, not just the car

If you're buying privately, inspect the owner.
Not in a creepy way though.

    Is the owner trustworthy? Would they sell you a car without telling you about all the bad stuff or telling you straight when you ask about something bad?
    Is the owner one to neglect maintenance?
    Is the owner eager to sell the car or not willing to sell it at all?

    Sometimes learning about the owner can tell you a lot about the car. I've gotten several fun projects for very cheap simply because the owner didn't know what they had or they didn't fix the small things. (I bought a V8 MN12 Thunderbird for $650 and sold it for $1500 after doing some repairs.)

Don't finance through the dealership
    Never finance unless it's at 0%. Seriously, this one should be a no brainer. Don't spend more money on financing. Your bank or lending center will likely have a better rate.

Be willing to walk away
    Be willing to walk away. Prepare ahead of time and don't let your emotions get you in over your head.


Many local newspapers also advertise cars for sale. Some sellers display a sign on the car itself. It may be a good idea buy a used car from a rental car company. They usually sell their cars once they reach the age of 2 years, and they generally take good care of the cars. Even though the body might have some minor scratches, those cars are maintained
well. They may not want to negotiate the price, and their prices may be little higher.

After looking at various ads, short-list the cars you're interested in. Call the seller as early in the day as possible and set up an appointment to look at the car. Make sure to go during the day, as it's difficult to check out the car in the dark.

After you've looked at the car, take a test drive. If you like the car and are fine with the price, you should tell the seller that you would like to have it checked by a mechanic. Don't take the seller's words for truth. There is no reason to feel shy about having the car looked at by a professional. You are making a big purchase decision. This will help
you avoid a lot of mechanical problems and save you a lot of money later. Remember, once you buy the car, there is no return or money back.

If the seller doesn't let you test drive (make sure to take your driver's license with you), you have no reason to buy the car. Also, check their driveway or parking space to see if there are any signs of leaks. Also, check the car's A/C and heater.

Typically, the best deals will be cars that are two or three years old, as they are still in relatively good condition and most of the depreciation (reduction in the value of the car) has already occurred.

"Certified used car dealers" don't really mean anything unless you are buying a certified pre-owned BMW, Lexus, or Mercedes and get a 3-month warranty. Never sign papers that indicate the car is "AS IS."

You should consider the current mileage when purchasing a used car. Of
course, the fewer miles it has been driven, the better. An average of
12,000 miles per year is considered the norm. Of course, some cars are
driven less than that, but many are driven much more due to long
commuting distance. For example, a car manufactured in 2002 with a
mileage of about 60,000 is considered fine in 2007. If a car has 110,000
miles or more, it is better to avoid purchasing it.

Also, many miles driven on highways are better than many city miles.

It may be difficult to find the true market value of a used car.
Fortunately, there are various tools available to determine this.
Kelley's Blue Book  <http://www.kbb.com> is an excellent place to find
used car values. The easiest way is to check online. However, many
libraries, bookstores, and other similar places may have it available.
It lists car models, year of make, variations, and the current value of
the car. Of course, you may want to add or subtract the appropriate
amount for features added later or those that do not work. Also, there
is a cost deduction for additional mileage driven above the standard
mileage. All of this information is mentioned in the Blue Book.

> The Blue Book gives a rough idea of a used car's worth.

If you have a used car checked by a mechanic, they may also be able to
tell you the approximate value of the car.

When you have a car checked by a mechanic and they find it needs
repairs, ask the seller to have them fixed or discount the price of the
car by the amount required for the repairs.

You may also be able to negotiate the price of a used car. Often, it is
more expensive to buy a used car from a dealer than from a private owner.

Having A Car Checked
Before buying a used car, it is absolutely necessary to have it first
checked by a mechanic. Check the local Yellow Pages, search online, or
ask a friend or colleague to recommend one. If you are a member of AAA
</newcomer/roadside-assistance-aaa-membership.html> , they can also
recommend one. Mechanics may charge you $50 to $100 (it really varies).
He/she will check the car thoroughly and tell you the current or
potential problems, if any.

Even though most mechanics know their job, make sure to have
the following things checked:

  * All safety features, such as brakes, headlights, indicator lights,
    horn, and wipers are working correctly.

  * Check the brake cylinder and drum to see if there are any worn out pads

  * Check transmission and engine. They are usually the most expensive
    parts in a car.

  * Automatic cars may have either 4 speed or 5 speed. You should
    consider buying only 5 speed car.

  * Check whether there is any rust at the bottom, exhaust, radiators,
    and muffler.

  * Is there an oil leak? You can easily tell if there are any oil spots
    where the car was parked.

  * Does the car have enough power and pick up when accelerating?

  * Apply brakes at around 40mph and check for any vibrations without
    down-shifting. If there are, either brake pads or steering pinion
    may not be in good shape.

  * If possible, have four people sit in the car and take a sharp
    turn. This is a good way to find out if the suspension is in working

  * If the emission is black and thick, it means oil is burning with gas
    and the car is beyond its life. You should strongly consider NOT
    buying this car.

  * If the piston rings leave a gap in the cylinders, you shouldn't
    buy the car. You will have to change the cylinder, piston, and
    rings, which is very expensive.

  * Ask the seller if they have records of maintenance or other
    work performed on the car, such as replacing and/or rotating tires,

  * Don't buy the car if it has already been sold to two or three prior
    sellers. Why is the car changing hands frequently? Is there
    something seriously wrong with it?

  * Check that the air filter, valves, etc., are fine.

  * Check that the interior is not too worn out. Sellers may just put
    new floor mats in, which are very cheap to replace. Underneath them,
    though, there may be worn out carpets.

Vehicle History Report
Before you finally decide to buy a car, check the car's history with
CarFax  www.carfax.com or AutoCheck   www.autocheck.com

 It reveals whether the
car has been in any accidents or whether the car was totaled or
salvaged. It is not very expensive and is really worth it.

You need a 17-digit VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) located on the
metal strip on the dashboard to run the vehicle history. The VIN may
also be located in other places, such as the engine, passenger door,
driver side door, trunk, or hood. Make sure the VIN matches in every place.

When you buy the car, make sure to collect the title. If the seller
doesn't have the title or promises to give you later, don't buy the car.
Every car owner must have a title. If the seller still has an
outstanding loan on the car, you may go to the lender, pay them they
outstanding balance, and they will give you the title right away. Check
the seller's driver's license and match it with the title to make sure
that the seller is really the owner of the car. If the car has any wheel
locks, make sure to collect the key for them. Otherwise, you can't
the change tires. Remember to collect all the keys, maintenance records,
owner's manuals, and any spare parts the seller may have. If the seller
has receipts for batteries or alternators, make sure to collect them as
well. Also, buy a pair of good quality jumper cables as soon as
possible, just in case the battery dies.

How to Check out a Used Car Before Buying It

If you are thinking about purchasing a used car, you know how confusing it can be. There are so many things to consider that it can be a daunting experience. This is even more true if you are considering buying a car for the first time. There are many things to look for when purchasing a used car but one important factor is to give the car a physical check before making your final decision. Here, then, are a few general pointers on how to physically check out a used car before you buy it.

1.Make sure that the car is on level ground before checking it out.
This is to ensure that you will be able to clearly check the tires and to see if there is anything sagging on the car.

2.Carefully check the paint job of the car, taking note of any rust spots, dents or scratches.
Look at the sides of the car from end-on for waviness; that indicates paint work. Run your finger along the edges of the joints between panels; roughness indicates residue left from masking tape.

3.Check the trunk of the car to make sure it is still in good condition.
It should not show any sign of rust, or water entry due to cracks or holes. Wear inside of the trunk indicates usage of the car.

4.Check under the hood of the car for any indication of dents, damage or rust.
These can all be signs that the car was either poorly taken care of or damaged. Each fender, just inside where the hood joins, should have a decal with the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the car; if it is missing, that fender was replaced.

5.The hoses and belts should not have cracks.
The radiator hoses should not be soft.

6.Go inside the car and check the seats and upholstery of the car for any tears, rips, stains, or other type of damage.

7.Check to make sure the air-conditioning of the car is working well by turning it on to see that it works. If air conditioning is a must buy a car with R134 coolant. Most cars fitted with R134 are 1993 or newer and have a sticker on the AC Condenser.

8.Check the odometer of the car for the mileage.
This is important because the mileage indicates the car’s age. On the average, a normal driver will drive between 10,000 to 15,000 miles a year; however, this depends on many factors. Remember, cars age by time and mileage. Buying a 10 year old car with very low miles is not necessarily a good thing.

9.Test drive the car before making any final decisions
. This is perhaps one of the best ways to know the condition of the car. Hence, a buyer should make all effort to do a test drive first before coming to any decisions.

10.Check out the car's service history which should give you some information regarding the performances, repairs, and problems of the car.
Ideally, the current owner would have kept a record of the times when the car needed servicing and should be willing to show you this information. Some cars do not have maintenance records because they maintained them at home. This should be fine as long as they can prove they maintained the car properly. There are instances where used cars are sold because of past accidents or negative experiences.

11.Be sure to check the brakes of the car by pressing down hard enough on the brakes to decelerate rapidly, but not enough to slide. Try this going around 30 mph in an area without traffic. You should not feel any vibration from the brake pedal, or hear any squealing or strange noises. Brakes that pulsate indicate the need for having the rotors resurfaced or replaced and new pads installed. It should not swerve; this can be caused by a bad brake caliper or worn steering components.

12.Inspect the engine for any sort of leaks, or corrosion.
On the engine block, look for any dark brown oil stains, this will indicate that there is a leak in a gasket, and could possibly lead to an expensive repair in the future. Check the brake fluid, and reservoir to make sure its is not leaking. The belts should look new (i.e. not have cracks or signs of drying). Old belts can snap, and if you do not know how to replace them, it will cost between $100-500 depending on which belt goes bad.

13.Remove the oil filler cap.
A foam residue on the inside indicates a leaking head gasket. Forget that car. Look at the condition of the coolant in the overflow jar; filthy brown coolant means it's never been flushed and often means a leaky head gasket.


14.Pull the transmission dipstick; the fluid should be pink or red. An old car may be dark but it should not look or smell burnt. It should also be full (check with the engine running).

15.The timing belt is the most important belt in the engine, and is also the most costly to replace.
If the car is equipped with a steel timing chain, you don't have to worry about this. Normal lifespan of a timing belt is from 60-100+ thousand miles; this depends on the manufacturer.

16.The tires should be worn evenly and they should match.
Look at the surface of the tire for feathering (bad alignment). Bad alignment can be caused by worn steering/suspension components, the pothole down the street or frame damage. Also check the spare tire and compare the tread to the other tires if it is a full spare.

17.Never buy a frame damaged car.
Check the saddle (connects the front fenders and holds the top of the radiator). It should not be welded on either side, it should be bolted in. Inspect the bolt heads at the top of the fenders inside the hood; scratch marks indicates that the fenders have been replaced or realigned (after a crash). Look for welds inside the door jambs.

18.Check for small trepidation at 45 / 55 / 65 / 75 mph.
Slight trepidation during a small speed interval may mean wear at the direction mechanical parts which may cost between 400 to 1500 to repair. These may include joints / arms etc. This may go together with uneven wear at the front tire(s).

19.Check for sounds, trepidation or clunking noise when making a 90 degrees turn.
Do this at low speed. This means again, wear at the front direction level: joints need to be changed.

20.Some cars have computers on board.
Bring with you an inexpensive computer to check for errors. At any auto store they have inexpensive devices with prices around 150$.

21.For a car that has an on board computer, pay attention to the warnings right when you start the car or when you turn the key or the start button.

22.Verify the lights and all the regular functions of the car when not moving.
This include: any sensors for parking, back parking camera, radio, CD, music installation, etc...

23.If you are able, try to get under the car when it is safely raised and inspect the exhaust system or any under-body rust.
Look for any black spots on the exhaust system because this can indicate leaking. This is also a good time to inspect for frame or unibody damage.

24.It is a good idea to bring along a trusted friend with a good background of automotive know-how to check things that you are not sure of.
If you do not have a trusted friend in the auto industry you can pay a mechanic to complete an inspection on it for around 75-100 bucks. Make sure this mechanic has good reviews so you will not get scammed into thinking the car is a lemon.

25.Do not pay sticker price.
A used car is a negotiable item. Do not feel the need to pay the price they are asking. The dealer bought this car at a low price, and is turning around and selling it for much more than they purchased it with the notion that they might have to lower that sticker price. Depending on the quality of the vehicle, feel free to offer a price. Be sure that it is a reasonable offer. If the dealer is asking $15,000, do not offer $10,000. It is merely an insult by doing this. If the car is over $10,000, try to negotiate at least $1500 off of the car. You can pre-qualify yourself at your bank or at a Credit Union. That will determine what you can spend for a car. Try to buy a car that is less than they tell you. Most people try to buy more car than they can really afford. Remember, no matter how good that car is today, it is going to require maintenance in the future. Use parts of the car that are unflattering to your advantage. If a car is not the color you are looking for, tell the dealer "I really like the car, but I don't like that it is green, that is the only thing holding me back from buying it" The dealer will see that you want it, and find some way to get you into that car.

26. If purchasing from a private sale it can be beneficial to the price negotiation to bring a pen, paper and cell phone with you.
As you make your inspection of the car be sure to record all items which are damaged or will require replacement. If needed also remind the buyer that you will be taking the vehicle to your own personal mechanic so they do not think the list is for theirs. After you have collected a list of what you believe the car will require you can telephone auto parts stores to check the price and availability of replacement parts.

Once you know how much the car will cost to repair if you buy it you can make an informed decision on what you would like to pay as well as increase the likelihood that the seller may reduce their asking price. Be careful while doing this because some sellers may think its rude by doing this and thus could end into a no sale.

Here are some good  VDO advise

if you know all these tips ... you got a big save & safe !