Purchasing a vehicle is always challenging, especially when it is a used vehicle. You have to make sure the car you select is safe and likely to last for a while. It has long been a challenge trying to balance getting a good deal on a used car with finding a car that is actually good. However, buying a used car since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic has become an entirely different type challenge.
There has been a massive boom in the used car market thanks to the the pandemic. Several sets of circumstances came together to create a “perfect storm” of sorts. As rental car and taxi companies took a hit, more and more citizens began looking for their own vehicles. Meanwhile, new cars have consistently been hard to come by during the pandemic due to difficulties with production and parts transportation. As a result, used cars are more popular than ever before. That is excellent news for used car sellers. However, as a buyer you may face high asking prices you do not want to pay. Here are some tips and resources to help you find a good online deal on a reliable used car, despite the market favoring sellers right now.
Have Multiple Makes and Models in Mind
Shopping for a used car online is an excellent way to keep your options open. Doing so gives you access to many makes and models not available in large quantities locally. However, not every used car is always available to purchase, even online. You may not find your first choice in the condition you want, especially within your budget. Have multiple makes and models in mind to give yourself the best chance of finding an affordable, reliable, used vehicle in a timely manner.
Get to Know the Cars You Want
Use your past experience, or at least a lot of research to determine the types of cars that interest you. Never buy a used vehicle online if you do not have some sort of in-depth knowledge of the make and model. If you purchase a type of vehicle online that you have already owned or driven in the past, you know what to look for in the present. You can also use the following online resources to learn about vehicles you may wish to purchase:
Forums Devoted to Specific Makes and Models
Check Vehicle Records and Reports Carefully
When you find a specific used vehicle that interests you, do a deep dive into its records. Request a CARFAX report on the vehicle, Make sure the information included in that report is consistent with other information you are given about the vehicle's history. Also, make sure the mileage on the vehicle is sensible when compared to its records. Any discrepancies may indicate deception on the part of the seller. Even if those discrepancies are honest mistakes, the information you are receiving may not provide an accurate representation of the history, condition, or reliability of the vehicle.
Have a Mechanical Inspection Performed Locally
Much like when purchasing a home, it is always a good idea to have a professional assessment done on a used vehicle prior to purchasing it. That is particularly true when you purchase a vehicle online that is not in a location you can easily visit. When you cannot see the vehicle in person with your own eyes, the word of a trusted mechanic is essential. If the seller does not agree to take the car to a local mechanic for such an inspection, the seller may have something to hide.
Have an Inspection Checklist
It does not matter if you are purchasing a car online that is available locally or one you must have a trusted mechanic inspect on your behalf. In either case, an inspection checklist is essential. Make sure all your questions are answered, including questions about:
Dings or Scratches
Potential Water Damage
Decide the Important of the Test Drive
If you are set on test driving a used vehicle yourself before purchasing it, you are limited to only buying a local used vehicle. Additionally, certain sellers may not allow test drives. Therefore, you might have to focus primarily on large dealerships. Yet, one reason to make an online vehicle purchase is to avoid limiting yourself to the inventory currently available at local dealerships. Making an online purchase also allows you to avoid in-person dealings with dealership staff members. You may wish to forego the test drive in order to steer clear of such dealerships and keep your used car options more open.
Ask About Arrangements for Taking Possession of the Vehicle
It does you no good to purchase a vehicle if you are incapable of taking possession of it. Therefore, arrangements to take possession are as important as the actual purchase, especially when purchasing a vehicle online from a seller not located in your local area. The seller may include delivery in the cost of the vehicle, charge a separate fee, or require you to pick the vehicle up yourself. Verify those details before making a payment.
Top Online Used Car Retailers
There are several ways to purchase a used car online, but some are safer than others. Purchasing a used car directly from an owner you have never met is potentially problematic. You have no guarantees or ways to tell if that owner is honest or trustworthy. A better option is to purchase a used car online from a trusted retailer like one of the following:
Getting a Deal on Your Used Car Online
You might think buying a used car online puts you at a disadvantage in terms of getting a deal, but that is not the case. You actually have several advantages. For instance, you can choose exactly how and when to initiate contact with the seller. Online negotiation also affords you the opportunity to take your time and think over your bargaining strategy. There are no salespeople staring at you in person expecting an immediate response. Take your time and negotiate with multiple sellers to get the best online used car deal you can.