“Can I help you?”, says the salesman. To which you will reply… “No. I am just looking”. And the insolent salesman will go on… “what can I help you look at?” After this question, you will not be so cocksure anymore. There… he has already swayed you, pretty nicely too, no? If you brought your wife along, he is going to compliment her on her dress, yes, even though it looks awful. If she blushes, brother, you have been had; you will buy that car, OK! You will see. Don’t believe me? Watch the 2001 film “Suckers”, and then come tell me who is the sucker… you or the salesman…
Have you confirmed that the car is in good condition on both the outside and the inside? You do not want to buy a car that is fraught with mechanical problems unless you want to spend more time repairing than riding in it. It is a used car… meaning it has seen better days.
Sweeten the deal as much as you can in your favor. They need you for business, see? You need them for the car, but they need you more. Here are a few questions to ask before you pay for that car:
Question 1: Who owned this car before you bought it?
They will not let you see the name of the previous owner and there is no need to. What you need to see is the record of maintenance to know whether the car is worth its value or not. Don’t relent on seeing those records. They will give you an idea on just how much you should pay for the used car.
Question 2: How many miles has the odometer recorded?
Note that the mileage of a secondhand car plays a huge role in determining its right value. This should be therefore expounded fully during negotiations. If the odometer reads higher than the mentioned figure or appears stuck when you test-drive the car, don’t buy, move on to another dealer.
Question 3: How many owners have had this car?
Always prefer to buy a car that has had a single owner before you. This makes it easier to get the necessary information regarding the condition of the car. If you are buying a vehicle from the third owner, you might not have enough information because even if you ask for such from the dealer, they will give you the details of the most recent owner. What about the other two? The more information you know about a vehicle the more comfortable you will feel purchasing it.
Question 4: What is the car’s condition?
This question can be asked alongside other questions, but for clarity’s sake, you can ask it independently to see the consistency of the seller. If the dealer is honest, you will be in a position to determine whether you can live with those problems or not. More so, knowing the condition of a car that you intend to buy can give you the edge to make the deal even much better.
Question 5: Does this car have any special features?
The less equipped a car is, the lesser its value. That is why you should insist to know the number of special features that the car has. Ensure that you get the full value for your money at the end of the deal. Check if the seats are upholstered in leather, check if the air condition is working or if there are any fancy gadgets. GPS? No? That car is ancient.
Question 6: Has the car been involved in accidents
Cars that have been in accidents are often more prone to greater mechanical problems and their value tends to depreciate fast. Look for dents, evidence of body works and so forth, check the bumpers carefully, lest you buy a jinxed car.
Good luck. You will need it to get through that sleek salesman.