As someone who appreciates nice garages with storage cabinets, floor coating systems and more, it is equally nice when they are outfitted with really nice cars too which brings me great pleasure to introduce Steven Paul, Owner of Test Drive Technologies Vehicle Inspection Solutions as our guest blogger on Garage Dude Blog. Steven brings a wealth of knowledge on vehicle buying tips that extends to autos, trucks, boats and more. I have made many auto purchases over the years and given the number of quality used cars on the market and the ease of purchasing cars on-line, it is nice to be able to talk with experts like Steven.
For every auto purchase I’ve made, there is always that emotional aspect that can get in the way of sound judgement while making that purchase. Test Drive Technologies is independent from dealerships & auto manufactures which allows Steven to work directly with his clients (the auto purchaser) and the existing vehicle owner to perform pre-purchase inspections to ensure all aspects of a vehicle are investigated. I’m sure you’ll find Stevens article “The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Used Car Online” helpful toward preparing for your next vehicle purchase.
“The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Used Car Online”
Over a million vehicles with total loss history get listed for sale on eBay & Autotrader each year. Used vehicle buyers have begun to protect themselves by ordering vehicle history reports from sources such as CarFax & AutoCheck. These vehicle history checks do a great job at reporting vehicles that are total losses and that have sustained major damage. The problem with relying on one of these vehicle history reports when purchasing a used car or truck is that they instill false security that the vehicle is in good mechanical condition. This guide will help you spot the lemon-listed vehicles for sale online.
The Number of Photos Makes a Difference - One of the first things to be weary of when viewing vehicles online is the amount of photos a seller provides of the vehicle. Many times, a seller will only post a couple photos of the car or truck. This can mean a few things - First, the seller did not want to pay for additional photos of the vehicle. Second, the seller is trying to hide damaged areas of the car or truck by omitting what you can see. Third, which is even more terrifying, the vehicle has massive damages and there are no photos at all; this is often the case on Craigslist. What you can do to protect yourself from the above situation is to set a standard when you are browsing cars and trucks online. Set a standard of how many photos must be included with the listing before you entertain the idea of reviewing the rest of the vehicle. With all of the photo sharing technology out there today there is no reason why someone should not have a minimum of at least 20 quality photos somehow attached to the listing. Sellers have the ability to use Flickr, YouTube, & Photobucket just to name a few. All of these services are free and provide special coding which will allow the photos to play as a slide show in the listing. What if you find a vehicle that fits your budget and seems to be a good deal but does not have enough photos? Contact the seller and ask them to send you more photos. If the response is that, they will have to barrow a camera or send via cell phone, be patient with them but be specific on what areas you want to see. Once you receive the photos review them carefully looking for misaligned panels and areas that do not have the same type of shine to them, these are sure signs of repaired areas.
Know Whom You Are Buying From - Another thing to beware of when browsing vehicles online is know if you are buying from a private seller or a dealership. Often if you find yourself buying from a dealership online they will not have near as much information about the vehicle but they will have plenty of photos. The trick here is to know what a dealership ad looks like vs. a private seller listing. A dealership will list every single option available and possibly have fancy photo angles. A private seller will likely say things like “one owner”, list the exact miles and say things like “firm or hard” as well as “obo”. Why do I say to know the difference? You are likely to pay more online for a dealership owned vehicle. The price on a dealership vehicle is more firm and fixed than that of a private seller. Private sellers normally over price their vehicle knowing that they have some wiggle room to make the sale.
Get It Inspected and Get Protection - So you have found a “good” vehicle and you are ready to finalize the purchase? You should be sure to order an independent pre-purchase vehicle inspection. An independent vehicle inspection will not only provide you with an unbiased & hands-on assessment of the vehicle but can also provide you with some security and protection as well knowing a trained and certified vehicle inspector has fully examined something you were not able to lay your own hands on. There are many auto inspection companies in the market today. When choosing a good auto inspection company compare the amount of inspection points and ensure you will be able to speak directly with the inspector and provide some specific checkpoints. You should also be sure the inspection company is 100% independent of body shops, repair facilities and dealerships.
By Steven Paul,
Owner of Test Drive Technologies Vehicle Inspection Solutions