Avoiding The Common Car Buying Scams

Whether you’re looking forward to owning your own car, or you’re replacing an older one, buying a car is a big decision. It’s one of the most expensive items that you’re ever likely to own, so, naturally, it has to be done with care. This is especially true due to the high number of scams that could see you driving away with a car that isn’t fit for the road if it’s able to drive at all. Here are a few tips for avoiding the most common car-buying scams out there.

Pic – CC0 License

Check the VIN

The number one scam to worry about is whether or not the car you’re buying is legally being sold to you. For instance, you want to make sure that it wasn’t written off in the past and, even more importantly, that it hasn’t been stolen. As such, you should take the time to check the car’s vehicle history report using its VIN code. This can give you the full details on what car the VIN belongs to, as well as any red flags.

Get a full vehicle history

Before buying a car, you should ask to see a vehicle’s maintenance records and documents, as well as the title and registration. This can help you see that a car has been maintained to a decent standard but, even more importantly, you can compare odometer recordings with the readings in the car, as some sellers will adjust odometer readings to make a car seem newer than it is.

Avoid the private market

While there are sellers on the private market who are offering legitimate deals, the truth is that it can be hard to hold them accountable if you find out your car isn’t what you expect. If you look for car sales through legitimate dealerships, then that is a registered business you’re dealing with, so they can’t simply upsticks and run if they sell a car that they shouldn’t have, so they’re less likely to do it. It lends you a certain level of assurance about the car you buy.

Get it checked out

If you’re not certain that a car is performing properly, even if it test drives well, you should always be willing to give your mechanic a call and have them check it out before you make your final decision to purchase it. If the seller isn’t willing to let you have your mechanic look at it, then there are likely underlying issues that they’re hiding.

Finance it privately

Sometimes, sellers can add all sorts of extra and unexpected costs to a car, and you might not know what you’re agreeing to before its too late. This typically happens in the financing step of the deal. As such, if you’re willing to take the time to finance your car privately, such as through your bank, then you’re a lot less likely to have extra fees slipped by you.

Not everyone selling a used car is trying to scam you, by any means. However, you should always be mindful when buying a car, and do the necessary checks to keep yourself safe.