The internet has made it virtually easy to buy a used car. With tools like CARFAX reports, Kelly Blue Book values, Edmunds reliability ratings, Government sites that list vehicle fuel economy and more consumers can caught up in information overload and forget about the old fashioned basics.
The old fashioned practice of “kicking the tire” and going with your gut seem to place a distant third, fourth or fifth when buying a car. After all, who can kick a tire of a car bought through eBay that is shipped hundreds of miles to your door? Don’t let technology replace the human factor when buying a used car.
Here are a few old fashioned car buying basics that worked back in the stone age:
- Actually test drive the used car. Shopping online is fine, but you won’t be able to tell if the car smells like a dog pound if you don’t get into it.
- Bring it to a trusted mechanic. Don’t let CARFAX make that determination for you. Although CARFAX is a great tool, it is not all knowing and all telling. CARFAX can only report information that was available and reported to them. Some things are just not public knowledge (like the back door must be jimmied in order for it to open).
- Trust your gut. Too many times we allow the used car sales person, online information and our desire for the car to cloud our judgment. After researching, driving and inspecting the car, spend some quiet time. If you give yourself enough time, that quiet little voice, or feeling in the pit of your stomach can help you to determine if you should buy the car.
Remember, technology is there to help you make the decision, not make the car buying decision for you.