Not All Bay Area Used Cars for Sale Are Created Equal: A 6 Point Checklist to Help You Avoid Getting Scammed
You’re cash strapped, so you’re hoping to find Bay Area used cars for sale that meet certain critical minimum standards. You just want a fair deal and a reliable vehicle. Traps abound, even for the savvy used car buyer, however. Here is a 6 point checklist of “stuff to do” to minimize the chance that you will get scammed.
1. Research research research
The Internet is littered with specs, data, consumer reports, and anecdotes about every car out there. Learn about your options before talking to sellers.
2. Write down your principles.
What’s your maximum price? What are your “critical standards” for performance? Are there minimum ratings for safety, reliability, fuel efficiency, etc that you absolutely must have? The more specifically you can identify “must have” features before you shop, the easier it will be to make decisions in the heat of the moment.
3. Do an ultra thorough inspection.
Look on the outside to make sure that the paint is even, the tires are worn evenly, and that the doors and windows open and shut seamlessly. Peek under the hood to see whether the oil and fluids look good and whether any components seem rusted or worn.
If you spot discrepancies or problems, ask questions. Take a pad of paper along with you, and write down the seller’s verbatim answers to your questions. When people know that they are being recorded, word for word, they tend to dissemble less!
4. Take her for a test drive.
Be explicitly mindful before, during, and after the test drive for anything that looks or sounds “off.” Do the warning lights go on? Do some lights go on and stay on? When you drive, do the brakes feel even? Does the steering wheel pull to one side or the other?
5. Inspect the vehicle via an independent, certified mechanic.
Even if you are a “car buff,” and you have a pretty good sense of what to look for, put the pre-purchased vehicle through an independent inspection just to double check your own sleuthing.
6. Find trustworthy partners to answer your questions and help with repair or parts replacement.
If you have any questions about how to shop for used cars in the Bay Area or how to find great replacement parts for a pre-owned vehicle, get in touch with the certified, thorough, and friendly professionals at Rock & Roll Auto Recycling. We’d be happy to give you insight into best practices and save money and time.