6 Tips On Buying A Used Car Online

By Ashley Henshaw. May 7th 2016

Today, many drivers are finding that they can get a great bargain if they buy a used car online. This can be a great way to shop for your new vehicle since you can browse through hundreds of cars without ever leaving home. However, there are some potential challenges to using the Internet to buy your next ride. The following are some important tips to make sure that you don’t waste your money when buying a used car online.

Get An Auto History Report

The number one thing you can do to make sure you aren’t getting swindled when buying a used car online is to get the car’s history report. The best way to do this is to request the car’s history from CarProof or CarFax, two major companies which keep a huge database of all used cars. Both are good sources for finding out who has owned the vehicle, how many miles are on it, what work it’s had done and what accidents it has been involved in. Because you will need to purchase the report, make sure you’re serious about the car before sending in for its history. However, it’s definitely worth the cost of the report in order to save yourself from paying too much for a car in poor condition or from the expenses that would’ve come from an unforeseen issue.

Get An Inspection

Another small investment you can make to prevent lots of unforeseen expenses is to get a mechanic to inspect the vehicle. Any seller who isn’t trying to hide a major problem with the vehicle should be willing to do this, especially if it is at the buyer’s expense. Make sure you select the mechanic yourself to ensure that the seller isn’t just having a friend of theirs give it the okay.

Don’t Be Afraid To Bargain

Since you’re looking at a used vehicle, the price isn’t set in stone. Once you know more about the car through a car history report and an inspection, look up the Kelly Blue Book value of the car and do a little comparison shopping online. From there, ask your seller if they’d be willing to bring the price down. Some sellers will be willing to budge, and you could end up saving yourself quite a bit of money in the process.

Ask About Liens

One financial obstacle that could stand in your way when trying to buy a used car online is a lien. If the seller still owes money on the car, it could be hard to get that lien removed when you purchase the vehicle. Make sure you ask the seller about any payments owed on the car. If there are, then get in touch with the lender to see if they will release the lien on the car.

Make Sure Your Payment Is Secure

When it comes down to it, the most important step you’ll need to make in the process of buying a used car online is making sure your payment is secure. Though rare, it’s not unheard of for scam artists to steal the money that someone shells out for a used car they found on eBay, Craigslist or other online listings. Never hand over the money until you’ve met the seller in person. If they request some kind of guarantee that you plan to purchase the car, ask to make a down payment first. Then you can pay the rest when you pick up the car in person. Try to avoid online payments – even paying through secure vendors like PayPal doesn’t guarantee that you can’t get swindled.

Be Smart About Paperwork

Protect yourself and your investment by getting all of the paperwork in order before you complete the transaction. If the seller still owes payments on the car, get a signed document that the lien is being released by the lender. If you’re making a deposit, get a notarized document that says your deposit will be returned if the sale doesn’t go through for some reason. Covering your tracks is a good way to avoid losing money in the transaction.

Buying a used car online can be a great way to get a good deal on a vehicle. However, the important thing to remember is to proceed with caution. There are many potential pitfalls when purchasing a car online, so you’ll want to be careful to make sure you’re not losing any money in the deal. Additionally, it’s important to do your due diligence when it comes to the condition of the car so that you’re not wasting money on a vehicle that will fall apart in six months. Using these steps will help protect your investment and ensure that your car will be a smart purchase.


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