5 Red Flags to Look Out For When Buying a Used Car

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Before you buy a used car, there are red flags that you need to look out for. Let us put this into perspective – The last thing you want as a car owner is spending a chunk of your income constantly fixing and repairing a used car.

Any car that requires major repair works on a consistent basis is a car that you should never have bought in the first place. Such an experience can make buying a used car an ordeal.

Used car red flags

From the antics of highly persuasive dealers eager to influence your purchasing decisions to the inability to quickly detect the true state of health of the car, buying a used car could be easily transformed into a tug of war you never expected.

Fortunately, there are some red flags you can look out for when buying a used car. These red flags are designed to get you a seemingly good bargain at the end of the day. Before you buy a used car, look out for the following red flags:

1. Stinking Cabin or Trunk

A foul smell in the cabin or trunk of a vehicle is a red flag. It is an ominous sign of a greater problem. Avoid used cars with musty interiors as this could be a sign of flood damage.

Even most insurance companies consider it a big loss when a can suffers flood damage because the water is like a virus that damages almost every system in the car; from mechanical to electrical.

A flood-damaged car is a draining pipe for scarce resources. Trying to fix it will only waste the money you saved from purchasing the used car in the first place.

2. New or Mismatched Paint 

A car with a mismatched paint is a screaming red flag when buying a used car. The mismatched paints suggest that repairs have been made. Also, if there are areas where the paint seems shinier or less faded, it is probably an indication of a previous car accident. Although a single accident may not affect how safe the car would be. However, a series of accidents may increase that likelihood of safety concerns.

It is normal to have natural discolouring from use and old age, but when the paint in the bumper of the car doesn’t match the body, it is a sign that the car has had a pretty rough past.

3. Unbelievably Low Price

We are not saying the price of a good used car should be unaffordable; that’s far from it. A car that is priced sky high for its mileage and current condition is to be avoided. But there are prices of certain used cars that will just make you raise an eyebrow because they are incredibly low. This should be considered a huge red flag because it is as if they are going for scrap metals and not for a used ride.

Any seller or a car dealer who offers you a car with an extremely low price is clearly and desperately trying to get rid of the car. Experts have warned that such cars have something fishy under the surface.

4. Controlling Sellers

If you are trying to buy a car directly from the owner, but the owner acts in an extremely controlling manner about how long you can inspect the car and how far you can spin it for a test drive, or even what you can touch in the car, then be suspicious of the health and roadworthiness of such a car.

In a situation where the seller acts uncomfortable when you try to test or touch certain accessories during a test drive, please take a cue from this and don’t proceed with buying the car. It is an early sign of what is about to come to you; a car that would most likely turn out to become a liability.

When you want to buy a used car, you are often better off with a reputable company like Cheki and the dealers listed on the website than with men and women who claim to be dealers yet have little or no reputation to show for it.

5. No Paper Trail

Never trust a vehicle that doesn’t have a proper history or any paper trail. In an ideal situation, whenever a car is sold, the date, location of the sale and the current mileage are recorded on the title.

The vehicle title is supposed to contain important events in the road history of the vehicle. Such information includes whether it has been salvaged after a severe road accident or weather-related damage.

A car that has been salvaged is likely to cost much in maintenance than an accident-free car. You should verify all the papers and leave immediately once the seller offers none.

Final Thoughts on Used Car Red Flag 

Some red flags can be difficult to detect if you are not careful. This is why car buyers sometimes go to the dealership with their mechanics or friends who are knowledgeable about cars.