Used cars are often considered to be the shadier side of the sometimes dirty car business. Despite this truth, the surprising reality is that used car sales occupy the overwhelmingly dominant market position in the auto business, with fully three-fourths of all card transactions in the nation being used car ones. The problem is that with this enormous volume of cars being bought, sold, and traded in, fraud rears its ugly head all too often. This is why used car buyers should be aware of some important and sometimes scary facts about these vehicles, because their car dealers or individuals from whom they buy the vehicles used are not going to share these critical tidbits with them.
Used Car Facts
#1 Flood Damage Represents a Serious Concern with Buying Used Cars
Flood damaged vehicles are a major concern in purchasing a car used. It may not sound like a serious or prevalent problem with buying a vehicle used, but it is in fact one of the gravest dangers. This is especially the case because even vehicles that do not appear to have any damage or flood-related problems can be rotting from the invisible inside out. This is not merely the cosmetic issue of rotting either.
Flood damage can represent a serious and even life-threatening safety issue. This is particularly the case because air bags which have been submerged in water never work properly again. Either they will falsely deploy when the car is travelling at a high rate of speed, likely causing a horrific accident in the process, or they simply will not deploy when they are relied on and needed in an emergency car crash situation.
How prevalent is this issue with band-aided up flood damaged cars? As many as half of the flood damaged cars are put back into road service. As an example, just from Hurricane Katrina alone, 200,000 used vehicles were dried up, cleaned up, then resold as fine to unwitting buyers.
#2 Used and Stolen AirBag Issues
Experts concur that fully one for each 25 airbags have already been deployed for one reason or another. The problem is that they have not been replaced correctly or properly. Sadly, airbags are also the most often stolen part of an automobile, having finally exceeded the number of radios, cd players, and other electronic items that are stolen now.
#3 Odometer Fraud with Used Cars
It is a shocking but true statistic. Upwards of $4 billion every year is lost because of used car odometer fraud. The most common rollback averages 15,000 miles. This makes the car appear to be significantly younger than it actually is. Needless to say, the used market for cars is both a buyer aware and buyer beware one. Fortunately, the state of the market has been vastly improved by companies like CARFAX and AOL Autos Used Cars that compile all of the information available on used vehicles' histories to help reduce the risk of fraud for consumer car buyers.
Tips and Recommendations for What to Know When Buying A Used Car
Since the average automobile is probably going to have three separate owners within its useful road life expectancy, this means that car buyers need to know what to check when buying a used car. Whether or not you choose to purchase a used vehicle from an individual or a dealer, consider these ideas as part of your personal guide to buying a used car:
Take an inspection list with you to go through with any car you see. These are widely available in books, magazines, and on used car consumer information websites.
Obtain the maintenance record on the vehicle from the dealer, owner, or repair shop.
Put the automobile through a varied condition road test, on highways, hills, and traffic.
Pay a mechanic to look over the vehicle. This will be well worth the expense if it keeps you from buying a lemon.
If possible, talk with the vehicle's previous owner, especially important if the present owner is unwilling to or ignorant of the history of the automobile.
Look into official recalls on a make and model in which you are interested, then be sure to verify that these have been done with the present owner of the vehicle.
Learn ahead of sit down negotiations what the fair value of the vehicle in question actually is. You can obtain this from Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, or the NADA Guides online and at no charge.
Be sure you are provided with an independent review of the automobile in question's history. Everyone gets the CARFAX report these days, and anyone who is unwilling to show it to you should be suspect as a person with something to hide about the vehicle they are selling.
By using these common sense tips, it is easy to avoid being taken for a fool when you are buying a used car. The market for used cars is treacherous, but based on the available statistics, you are likely to be participating in it at some point in your life, if not at several different times. Check out more used car buying tips here. While you are at it, remember the famous Roman saying "Caveat Emptor," and "Let the buyer beware."