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Sunday, December 04, 2005
Buying a used car
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Is your car in bad shape? Do you need a new one or at least one that is new to you?

Here are some things to think about very seriously before you head for the dealer's lot and what to look for when you get there.

When buying a used vehicle the last thing you should do is any of the following:

1. Kick the tires or even check them to see how much tread they might have on them.

2. Check the oil.

3. Look at the interior for cigarette burns, tears or other interior or exterior damage.

3. Look at the paint to see if it is in good shape or not.

4. Look to see if it has air conditioning or a radio, stereo, GPS navigation, or is bluetooth enabled.

5. Check the radiator for anti-freeze or any other fluid level.

In fact, while some or all of those things might be important to you none of them are the most important. The most important and first thing to check is the odometer. That's the little dial that tells you how many miles the car has on it. Then the second thing to check is what year the car was manufactured in. Don't believe the model year on the title or on the windshield or anywhere else that is prominent and easy to find. Check the door posts or wherever you find the manufacturer's little steel tag that is always welded or riveted to the doorposts. It might very well loudly claim to be a 2005 model while the truth of the matter is that it is a 2005 model manufactured in 2004. Then you need to recall the fact that it is approximately 25,800 and some odd miles around the world.

So let's just round that off to an even 25,000 miles around the world. And now it is time to figure out how many times the car has been around the world per year.

A 2006 car that has already been around the world once or twice should be avoided at all costs. The durn thing will break down and need major repairs long before you can ever get it paid for. And while you may very well be able to make the payments can you make the payments and pay for a new engine or a new transmission as well? Or would you want to even if you could pay for them both at the same time? You would probably be far better off with a 5 year old car that has less than 50,000 miles on it than you would with that high mileage newer car.

On top of that, if you have to finance the car the good lenders won't lend you a crying dime if the car has more than 50,000 miles on it regardless of the model year.
That's because they too recognize that high mileage cars are soon going to require major overhauls at high prices and high mileage cars are little more than future repos they will have to sell at a loss. They don't want to be in that position and they don't want you to be in that position either.

There is yet another advantage to following my advice on the above and that is that vehicles that meet the mileage criteria by virtue of the fact that they have not more than maybe 10 to 15,000 miles per year on them are going to be much harder to find. They are going to be rather few and far between so you will most likely also have fewer inquiries on your credit reports. Of course, dealers also want higher prices for those low mileage cars too so you might have to pay a bit more for them but that is far better than taking a chance on having to pay for the car and major overhauls at the same time.
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