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How to Avoid Being Conned When Buying Used Cars from the Dealership

Updated on December 20, 2022
Charles Emerenwa profile image

Brian is an aspiring writer that seeks to inform and educate the public through informative and educational pieces from various categories.


Most people prefer to purchase a brand new car if they can afford it. Although a new purchase would certainly be priced higher, it offers peace of mind as the risks of breakdown are lesser compared to a used car. However, it does not mean that used cars are not worth the purchase.

Prior to making a purchase through a used car dealership, it is good to know how to negotiate a good deal and avoid being cheated, if you are inexperienced. In order to save you the trouble and heartache, it is wise to apply certain measures to make a sound purchase decision. You may not be an auto expert, but having the basic knowledge to make the necessary evaluation would be a good start.

inspect a car condition
inspect a car condition

Common sense calls for a thorough inspection of the vehicle as part of an evaluation checklist. You may engage a knowledgeable mechanic or a used car inspector to perform an inspection of the vehicle before finalizing the deal. If you need to do it personally though, you may want to take note on a few details that are of importance.

For starters, you may want to be sure that the vehicle has not had any major bodywork done, but if it has, you should ascertain the extent of the damage and note the quality of the repair work. Badly damaged cars will affect the value of a car, even after its repair. Addressing this issue will enable you to determine whether the car is worth the price tag.


Another important aspect to be on the lookout for is rust issues. Unless a car has been properly rust-proofed, any vehicle between seven to 10 years old or beyond will show signs of rust on the rust belt. Rust damage can be repaired temporarily, but once the corrosion process has started, it will spread within the vehicle parts and is impossible to contain. Although the metals used in modern cars are better, rust issues are not entirely eliminated.

flooded car
flooded car

It is also important to avoid cars that have been flooded. Vehicles caught in a flood may develop various electrical problems and have mold breakout in the future. In order to examine whether the vehicle has been affected by flood waters, remove the rear trim piece from the center console to validate your concern. If you notice water level marks on the inside of the trim piece, that is a clear sign that the car will deteriorate when the effect of the flood waters start to show. A current history report can also reveal previous flood damage. Be on the alert if the history report indicates that the car is from a recent flood zone.

As an interested buyer, you do have the right to request for the vehicle's CarFax report, also known as the vehicle history report. The CarFax report provides a complete record of the vehicle's specific information that is obtained from various databases. Some of the details listed on the CarFax include - previous accidents or damage to the vehicle, including whether the airbags have been deployed; odometer history to ensure accurate mileage; records of previous owners and the number of times the vehicle has been sold and length of ownership; any service and maintenance records that are available, among others.


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