Tips for women buying a used car
For anyone, but designed for women
This can be used by anyone but is designed for women, because they usually get the short end of the stick when it comes to making purchases such as used cars. There is the ‘Lemon’ that we’ve all heard about and come to hate. The horror stories told and re-told of a junk car that has been dumped on the unwary.
I am going to give you a few tips in your quest to purchase that used car of your dreams.
The first thing to remember is TAKE YOUR TIME. If you rush into a car dealership they are going to stick you with the first piece of junk that they can.
DO NOT APPEAR DESPERATE - If you tell them you really NEED a car, again they will come up with the worst piece of garbage they have on the lot just to unload it.
How to appear
Now that you’ve slowed down just a bit and are getting a breather, let’s move on.
Do your best to appear confident. Do not go in giggling and silly acting, this will only cause you problems. Try to take a man with you, men automatically get more respect when purchasing vehicles. Keep in mind that 2 women looking at cars will not get much respect, you will be shown a ‘pretty’ car, one that you would look great in.
Walk the lot slowly, looking at each car. If the prices are not CLEARLY marked on the vehicles, leave that dealership. No questions, no comments, just leave. Why? Because the price of the car will change depending on who is buying it. Your mode of dress, your credit, the size of our wallet or your attitude will change those prices.
'As Is' means AS IS
Now you’ve found the car you wish to look at. You may see a sticker on the side with ‘Warranty’ information on it. Most used vehicles say ’As is’, (unless covered by the Manufacturer). What exactly this mean is what you see is what you get. Some have a 30 day warranty covering only 25% of the cost of repairs. Understand, this is what is it. If it breaks after you buy it, you will have a nice driveway ornament.
At this point your dealer may start to get a little pushy, wanting to draw up the paperwork.
You would like to test drive it. Don’t just drive it around the block. Take it for a real drive. Get on the expressway (if you use one a lot), get it up to the maximum speed. Hit the brakes, get a feel for it. Your life could depend on how it handles in a sticky situation, you want all the parts to work.
When getting back to the lot the dealer may be ready to draw up the paperwork.
You want YOUR mechanic to take a look at it. It doesn’t matter if they say they have had someone look at it. You want someone YOU trust to look at it. For under $100 most car repair shops will give you an inspection from bumper to bumper. It’s better to spend the $100 now than drive off the lot and break down in the road a mile away.
If they tell you that you are not allowed to do this, leave. There is a reason they don’t want another mechanic to look at it. It will break.
Learn to Dicker
If there is anything wrong with it, most dealers will come down in price if it’s worth fixing to you. You can make deals (in other words dicker) with them, you can state your price. Be prepared to walk away if they don’t meet your demands. For instance a cracked windshield. Those cost around $125 to replace (depending on the car) make them come down in price. You’ll have to get it fixed, take it off the cost of the car. If it needs new brakes, those are well over $200 at most brake shops. Take it off the cost of the car. Air bag light on? Automatically you know there is something wrong with it, more than likely it doesn’t work. This is going to cost close to $1000 to fix, how badly do they want to sell you the car? Your dealer may pull up a car showing you the ‘Kelley Blue Book’ value of that particular model. Remember that model is in EXCELLENT condition. DO NOT let them fool you!
You have been told over and over to ‘Get the Carfax’. Are you aware just what a Carfax is? Essentially it is telling you how many owners the vehicle has had, whether there have been proper oil changes done (at a dealership), if it has been in any accidents and if it has had an major repairs done. All done by licensed people, these are the ones who do the reporting. You will never find any work done by a backyard mechanic on the Carfax. This is why you need to take it to a mechanic you trust.
Now you are ready to have them draw up the paper work. When he hands you that pen to sign.
Read through EVERYTHING, if you don’t understand it, don’t sign it. If it’s blank DON’T SIGN IT!!
READ EVERYTHING, take your time. If you are getting a loan make sure you read the amount of interest you are paying. If you don’t like it, walk away. If you don’t like the payment amount, DO NOT SIGN.
If you are putting cash down, MAKE CERTAIN that you can see the difference in the price of the car minus your down payment, that will be your balance to be financed.
If you are doing a ‘trade in’ they will tell you what they are giving you for your old vehicle, make sure you see that difference in the remaining balance.
If your dealer tells you “I can make it look like you put X amount down”, walk away. They will be committing fraud. They are just raising the cost of your vehicle, and you will be paying interest on their dishonesty.
As my readers have explained below and I feel it would be remiss of me not to correct, I am doing so. But there is a point to leaving it up.
GAP insurance is just this; You make your purchase, you drive off the lot and have not put a sizable down payment on your vehicle, it immediately depreciates. if you get into an accident in a month or two and you vechile is totaled, there would be a 'gap' in the amount that your insurance would pay and what you are left owing on the vehicle. This is what the coverage is for.
But I must tell you, that the reason I put the information that I did, is what I was told by 4 DIFFERENT dealers. So people, make your self aware, READ everything yourself, do not trust what you are told. It was a mistake on my part putting this in, for that I apologize at not having it correct the first time. I hope that I have rectified this.
Thanks to my readers it has been corrected!
You may be required to purchase GAP insurance. This is more like a warranty, if your car breaks down after 1 year and you are still making payments on it you can have GAP pay for part of the repairs. Read the paperwork on this CAREFULLY before signing. The insurance generally costs around $1200 (depending on the vehicle) and is added on to your balance. So you will be paying interest on that $1200. It stops when the vehicle is paid for, unless otherwise specified. This is used by the less reputable car dealers, most of the time required by lenders, to ensure that you continue paying for your car. More than likely, you won't want to pay for a broken down vehicle.
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You can always WALK AWAY!
Always keep in mind, until you sign the paperwork and take ownership of the vehicle, at any time if you don’t feel comfortable with this purchase you can WALK AWAY. The only thing you will be out is a few hours of your time and possibly the $100 you spent at your mechanic. Spending $100 to discover that you almost purchased junk is well worth it.
There is always another dealership down the road who is willing to sell you a vehicle at the price you want to pay.
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