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Steps to buy a used car


There are steps to know when buying a used car either from private seller or direct owner. With the help of technology, many car owners can now direct upload their advertisement to the internet with little cost or totally free. This has bring a lots of freedom for shoppers to direct purchase a used car from owner without have to pay extra cost for used car dealer’s profit.

However, when there is expediency, there is difficulty. Scams could be happened when an advertising company neglects to filter out the scams advertisement. Therefore, here are some steps to follow when buying a car either from private seller or used car dealer.

Step 1 Get a vehicle report of the car

Once you have known which car you would like to purchase, you can easily get a vehicle history reports from either CARFAX or Autocheck through internet. These reports are less than $30 dollars but it buys you a certainty. It tells you the title information of the car (normal, salvage, or junk), accident history, lemon history, number of owners, or any flood damage history. All these information are worth for just $30 dollars.

Step 2 Check out the car

Three don’t, don’t have a hungry stomach when viewing the car, don’t view the car at night time, and don’t go with empty hands. Here are few things to check:

Car body: Look carefully each of every part of the car body and see if there is any dented part. A car that had any accident before will not have smooth texture. This is because some car paint shops just restore the car with some cheap skills like knocking or using suction cups to restore dented area, and then paint the same color. You should also check the car color whether it is consistent. Inconsistent body color means some part has been fixed before. Alternatively, you can also use a small piece of magnet to see if the car body has a major repair before. If there is any part that the magnet doesn’t stick, it means that part has been repaired with non-magnetic material like filler.

Car engine: Open the car hood, pull out the dipstick and see if the engine oil is at the right level. If it is not, it means the owner did not really maintain the car well. See also if there is any oil leaking around the engine. For example, transmission oil, engine oil, coolant, or brake oil. Not to forget to check the engine number, it must match with the document. Other than that, check if there are any broken parts like cracked hoses.

Car body/chassis number: Check the VIN number. VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) must be match with the document, CARFAX report or grant.

Windshield: Often windshield look like nothing wrong in a good tinted. Check properly to see if there is any cracked or small hole at every piece of glass on the car.

Car wheels and tires: Common sense will tell you if it is a new tire. Check each wheel and see if there is any unbalance. If one tire looks newer than another, that literally means the alignment and balancing of the car is not in good condition. You can use a ruler or a coin to check the tire thread.

Car interior: Bad car that always park under sunlight or under rain will not have a nice smooth dashboard. Check the dashboard color and also check if there is any fracture on it. Check also if all the lights and electronics are working in proper condition.

Car carpet: Most of the people overlook this especially when buying an older car like 1999 or earlier car. Remove the carpet and see if there is any hole underneath, if there yes, give up the car. See also if the carpet is still in good form. A few pieces of car carpet or floor mat could cost up to 100 dollars.

To get into more details, see what to check when buying used cars.

Step 3 Time to test drive

Do not feel pity to the car while you test drive. Try running it up to 80-100 km/h and feeling if there is any shaking or weird sound. See some of the symptoms of worn automatic transmission here. Do not give too much of love to the car by driving 20-30 km/h but we did not advice you to rape it over 100 km/h too. After been driving for a while, stop the car and open the car hood with the engine running. Don’t touch anything with your own hand and just try to smell if there is any burning or smoke or check for splattered oil.

Step 4 Make a down payment or deposit

Ask the same thing in three different shops will not waste your money. Try to look for other seller with the same model of car you want before making your decision. Once you have made your decision, you need car bill of sale. Write down all the promises clearly in the bill of sale and the selling amount. The down payment shouldn’t be too much and it should be around 1-3% of the car amount. This is because you will still have to bring the car for inspection. What if the inspection failed and the owner not willing to return the deposit to you?

Step 5 Bringing the car for inspection

This is depending on buyer and seller. Some buyer does not prefer to pay any deposit or down payment until they confirmed the car is clean and able to transfer the ownership. In this case, buyer and seller will have to bring the car go to inspection together. If the seller trusts the buyer, the buyer can bring the car for inspection alone. In Malaysia, it is a must to inspect the car at Puspakom before you can transfer the ownership of any vehicle.

Step 6 Transfer of ownership

Now the inspection is done and you have confirmed that the car is ready to transfer the ownership, you can pay the balance to the seller and transfer the ownership. If you are getting a car loan, you will have to wait until the loan is approved and the money is transferred to the owner, and then only transfer the ownership of the car. Happy dealing!


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