What is Salvage title? Buyer Tips

Red Flags on Used Cars for Sale

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 11/07/2017

Buying a used car for sale, whether you are buying in person or you are buying online through a dealer, private seller, or auction site can be intimidating. This is especially true if it is the first time you are buying. Many times, people are buying the used cars because they want to save some money, and they do not want to go through the hassle of getting a loan. They have cash, and they simply want to buy a vehicle. Buying used can be a great choice, but you do have to be careful. The following are some of the biggest red flags that you will need to watch for when you are making a used car purchase.

Inflated Prices

This is one of the biggest problems when you are searching for used cars, and if you are not careful, you can fall victim to. Do you know how much the vehicles you are considering are truly worth, or are you simply going by what these sellers are saying and charging? Many people and dealers will inflate the price of their vehicles in the hope to get the unwitting to buy. Most are honest and will not try to gouge you, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, they will try to pull the wool over your eyes.

You need to do the research to see what the typical prices are for these used cars for sale. Compare vehicles that have similar numbers of miles and the same types of titles so you can have a better idea of what others are charging for the vehicles you want. This knowledge will help you to determine if you are overpaying for the vehicle through the seller you are considering.

“Hidden” Issues or No Records

Another one of the problems that you might run into when you are looking for used cars is the hidden problem. Some sellers are not honest and they will try to hide a range of problems. They might not disclose that there has been damage to the vehicle unless you ask, for example. Always make sure you have access to the vehicle records so you know exactly what you are getting. A clean title is best, but a salvage title does not have to be a deal breaker, as long as you are aware of it.

No Pictures or Video

While pictures and video are not the “be all end all” when it comes to determining the value and veracity of a vehicle, if these things are absent, it is notable. It often means that there are some cosmetic issues that the sellers might not want you to see. The same is true when there are shots only from certain angles of the vehicle. If you are buying online and through an auction, you will not have other means of having a visual representation of the vehicle.

Fraudulent Titles

When you are buying from a seller that you do not know, what proof do you have that they are being honest with you? They could show you a title that seems as if it is free of problems. However, that does not mean that the title is valid. Buying a car with a fraudulent title means that you do not actually own the vehicle. Whenever you buy used cars for sale, online or offline, you need to check to make sure the title is valid. This means checking with the DMV by providing them with the VIN. If the seller will not give you the VIN to use, this is a huge red flag.

You do not want to go through any of these problems when you are trying to buy a used car for sale, of course. Most of the time, you will not have to deal with these issues. However, the best way to make sure you are not having these types of problems crop up is to buy through trusted sources. This might be a dealer in your area that you have bought from in the past, or it might be through a site, such as an auction site, that has great reviews and that takes the satisfaction of the customer seriously.