Purchasing Pre-Owned Vehicles: Savvy or ScammedJune 9, 2011 | in Defensive Driving Online
Buying a used or pre-owned vehicle is a great option for a budget conscious consumer that cannot take on the financial burden of a new car. A good driver thinks defensively on the road, but it is also important to be defensive when shopping for used cars to ensure that you get a good deal on a quality vehicle and protect yourself from scams and fraud.
One such scam that has been increasingly on the rise is odometer fraud, which includes disconnecting, resetting and altering official mileage readings on the odometer. This is especially prevalent when selling used cars that have older odometers that are easier to tamper with. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 450,000 vehicles sold with false odometer readings each year, costing car buyers upwards of $1 billion dollars each year.
There is no reason that you should fall victim to consumer fraud if you approach the process with a prepared and cautious outlook and follow these savvy car shopper guidelines:
• Hire a mechanic to inspect your prospective vehicle for any problems and to ensure that the mechanical soundness and safety features of the car are up to par. If there is an issue that needs to be repaired, you can use this information to make a lower counter offer with the seller.
• Ask to see the vehicle title and compare the listed mileage with what is reflected in the odometer.
• Review the history of the vehicle by requesting an official report. This can easily be acquired through sites like carfax.com and the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. These reports are an invaluable resource in determining any previous accidents and issues with the car, which will help to give you a better idea of what to expect in the future.
• Test-drive the vehicle in various conditions to get a better idea how the vehicle handles on the road. Multiple test drives will also help you to gauge if there are any persistent issues with the car such as soft breaks or engine knocking.
• Request the name of the previous owner’s mechanic and obtain a full account of the preventative and preparative maintenance that has been performed on your potential vehicle.
To read more on a broad range of subjects from “How To Change A Tire” to “How To Jumpstart Your Car”, visit DefensiveDriving.com’s Safe Driver Resources website!
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