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Saturday, August 19 2017 @ 06:02 PM MDT

Buying a Used Vehicle? Read this First.

Mechanics Central Related NewsAre you about to jump out and go buy yourself a used vehicle? Two things happen with a used vehicle. You are either thrilled that you just got a good quality vehicle, significantly less expensive, and to you, it still seems new (as long as everything works fine)

The other side. You get somebody else's problems. After dealing with mechanics and repairs, your frustrated, don't feel like you've save any money, and now you suddenly see the light as to why so many people go and buy a new vehicle. Let us help you stay on the bonus side, of catching the good deal. The first thing to remember about buying a vehicle is that it is an asset as well as a consumable. You are putting your money to work for you, knowing that you will be losing some of it, in trade for a reliable service such as being able to travel at high speeds in air conditioned environment.

The neat thing about this asset / consumable balance is that often times, you can own / drive a vehicle without it necessary costing you a lot of money. On the other hand, you can not even OWN the vehicle you are driving, and it cost you an arm and a leg (I shouldn't need to go into why a Lease in a crumby deal)

To give you a perfect example of what I am talking about, let's go through the following two quick scenario's.

1A) I go buy a reasonable, affordable used vehicle for $2000. Everything checks out, the car drives home fine.

2A) I go to a car dealership and lease a brand new car. I put down $2,999 down payment, and another $349 for first months payments.

1B) After one year of driving my $2000 vehicle, I was fortunate to not have any issues. I decide to sell. Used vehicle market has gotten stronger. I am able to sell the vehicle for $2300. I profit $300 after driving the car for about a year.

2B) After one year of driving, we decided it wasnt the car for us. Have paid dealership excess of $7,180 so far to have driven the car for 12 months. Dealership says we are stuck in the lease for another 2 years (another $8000+ ) or we pay early cancellation fee of over $2000.... Still do not own anything at this point - there is no asset to sell...

You get the point where I am going with this....

You can actually really luck out and get a reliable little car / truck and be able to turn back around sell it for you got it for (sometimes even more). But for this to be successful, there are some things you should know.

First things first. Get to know BlueBook and how to assess a cars actual value. KBB (Kelley Blue Book) is a great resource for this. They have a smartphone app as well as a website to run this through.

This is one of the most important steps, as it will give you an idea of what the rest of the market is going to value the vehicle at as well.

When using bluebook, go ahead and just give everything a Fair value. This is a weird rule of thumb that is overall just beneficial for you to always consider.

Also, never feel shy to let a prospective seller know what they KBB is on the vehicle if that becomes an issue at hand (say if he has it priced too high)

Now. The second important part of buying a vehicle is actually performing / having performed a mechanic inspection.

There's no need to go into detail as to why this happens, but seemingly, a lot of people like to sell their cars at the point in which a lot of problems are starting to come up. Now, they've been driving the vehicle for years and know what that 'original' feel is like. When you jump in to test drive, you may have no idea that is is seemingly lacking power, as that may just be normal to have a non-responsive accelerator.

As crazy as it sounds, it is possible for a vehicle to be a negative investment if there is 100% certainty you are buying it to drive. (Now, no vehicle is WORTHLESS) but, essentially what I am talking about is a vehicle being sold for $1000, needs $2000 in work, but would not resale for $3000 (in the event of somebody actually fixing it and selling it) In fact, in may not even be worth $2000. If it's not even worth $2000, but requires more than that to fix it, that is essentially negative equity as a vehicle. That car needs to just be scrapped for salvage.

Understanding this problem is key to avoiding a big waste in money.

How we do used vehicle inspections to get the best result / recommendation.

First, assess the KBB value (using best judgement). Next, deduct the price of any needed repairs or maintenance (there is NEVER a car that is sold that needs nothing. Period) If they just went and dropped all the money into ALL the maintenance that really needs to get done, they wouldn't be selling it.

At which point, now you have a number... Do yourself a favor, just don't more than that number. Stand firm. If they want $2000 for the car instead of $1500 like what you are offering, let them take care of the $250 needed maintenance, and the two new tires it needs...

If you are not a certified mechanic, do yourself a favor and get a certified mechanic to look at the vehicle!!! There are literally thousands of things that could be wrong, and while it may seem stupid that a check engine light is on, but the vehicle runs perfectly fine, it may need an $800 catalytic converter that will prevent you from ever seeing the vehicle legal unless you fork up the cash...

We have a checklist that we use at Mechanics Central for used vehicle inspections. It can be found @


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Buying a Used Vehicle? Read this First. | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Buying a Used Vehicle? Read this First.
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Buying a Used Vehicle? Read this First.
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