Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some Great Tips on How to Buy a Used Car

It’s not an easy, but buying a used car is necessary for anyone needing transportation on a budget. And it’s also a bit scary, what with inflated prices, hidden damage, mechanical problems, and liens.

But ICBC has a few tips that might help ease the pain and uncertainty of buying a used car and help steer the buyer in the right direction.

  1. Find the Right Car for you – There are so many cars to choose from its easy to get them mixed up. But consider exactly what it is you need in a car. Will you use it for commuting, or the Family? And don’t forget to consider things like fuel efficiency, comparable prices, resale value, insurance costs, reliability and how you want to pay for it. There are loads of sources online to help with that, plus you can ask your car fanatic friend.
  2. Know who you’re buying from – Buying from a registered dealer is a helpful start, as you can check up their business records online and with the Better Business Bureau. But there are private sales out there with plenty of good deals. Make sure to watch out for Curbsiders or Curbers. They sell cars without a dealer’s license and pose as private sellers. ICBC says if you want to check out for Curbsiders, copy the contact information and search to see if it’s listed on any other ads. ICBC also recommends that the seller accompanies you to an Autoplan Broker’s office to complete the ownership transfer.
  3. Look into its past – A vehicle history report can be a great asset to the uncertain car buyer. ICBC offer their Claim History report which will help tell you if the car has been in a major crash, written off and rebuilt, if it has liens or if it’s flood-damaged. More comprehensive reports are also available through CarProof and they cover the car’s history across the Continent. You can compare the two reports on
  4. Give it a Pat Down – ICBC says to first check that the car’s VIN number matches the number on the car’s registration forms. Also check if the VIN has been tampered with, look for loose or mismatched rivets, scratched numbers, tape, glue or paint. Also check the Odometer for signs of tampering. The numbers should be consistent with the condition of the car. ICBC say cars drive on average 25,000km a year.
  5. Bring it to Professionals – Once you’ve done all your homework and test driven the car in a variety of conditions you’re still not quite ready to buy it. The seller should allow you to take the car in to a professional mechanic to do an inspection. Choose someone you trust or ICBC recommends BCAA’s vehicle inspection. Prices for those range from $140 - $170.
Yes it’s a lot to think about. But once all has been considered the decisions should be easier, and you can rest easy knowing that you bought a car that will last for years to come. All while saving thousands over a new car.
And if you need more tips about buying a used car ICBC is always there to help.

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