Used car buyer’s guide part 1 / 2
So your vehicle is at the end of it’s life, you’ve been given the latest repair estimate and you’ve decided to call it quits and get another car. New cars depreciate way too quick so why not go for pre-owned? In this article I’ll discuss how to interpret the information given to you prior to actually driving the car you spotted.
Make sure to get a Car proof report, it will indicate if the vehicle was ever involved in an accident, if the odometer was ever tampered with and if it has any liens. Most reputable used car dealers will supply you the report no questions asked (be sure it isn’t more than 2 weeks old), a private seller might not want to spend the 50$ for it but he should supply you with the VIN of the vehicle for you to purchase your own. Be wary of anyone refusing to supply the report or at least the VIN of the vehicle.
You have the report in hand, now what? If there are any liens listed on the report the seller will have to supply paperwork from the creditor proving that the lien was paid off, if in doubt you can contact the finance company and confirm it actually was. A 2000$ front end accident? A small fender bender, if fixed right, is not a reason to shy away from the vehicle but have the area inspected by a qualified repair shop to confirm the repairs were done correctly and nothing was left hidden behind a panel. Keep in mind if the previous owner had an accident with the vehicle and decided to pay out of pocket, the Carproof report will not show any accidents, a keen eye is then very important to spot a panel that would have been replaced or repaired.
Last but not least, you will see service records and plate renewals listed along with the mileage at which they occurred, make sure the mileage reported makes sense chronologically and also matches with what is on the vehicle now.
Ask to see the ownership of the vehicle, although this would also show on the Carpoof report, in Quebec and Ontario if the vehicle was written off by an insurance company and repaired as a salvage vehicle it would be identified on the ownership, if it is, my personal recommendation would be to walk away.
Now that we’ve analyzed the paperwork, we are ready for the road test which i’ll discuss in my next article.
Until then, happy motoring and feel free to contact me with any questions!