What You Should Know About Private Car Buying

A quick Internet search for a new or used car will bring up thousands of results, many of them from private sellers. private car buying from websites like Craigslist and Vehix will feature both cars from dealerships and cars from individual, private sellers. Car buying from a private seller can save you money and hassle, especially if you don’t want to want to deal with a car salesman. But there are some considerations to take into account if you are working with a private seller.

First, what condition is the car in? If you’re buying from a private seller, there is no guarantee about what state the car is in. It will be your responsibility to inspect and test drive the vehicle, ensuring it is up to your standards.

Some things to look out for include the VIN numbers and visual signs of damage. With the VIN numbers, it is crucial that the 17-digit number on the dashboard is exactly the same as the one on the doors. If it is not, that could indicate that the car has been stolen. In terms of visual damage, look for signs of flooding. Flooding can cause, visually, water lines on the engine or interior of the car. Also check the general health of the car, including the state of the tires and brakes.

Along with your personal assessment of the car, there are some things you may want to ask the individual selling the car. You should be sure to ask how many miles are on the car (double check this against the odometer). Also note why they are selling the car and whether they have had any major problems with it. Ask if they have been in any accidents with the vehicle, as this can cause lasting damage. Another way to check if the car has been in an accident is to look for signs that it was spray-painted. Discoloration, rust and damage are sometimes concealed with spray paint.

A car sold to you by a private owner may not come with a warranty, which is much of the reason why inspecting the car is so important. You will probably have to take the car in whatever condition it is currently in, and trust the seller’s word that it is drivable. A manufacturer’s warranty may still be in place for the vehicle, but you will have to check to see what it covers, if it still covers anything. Check with your state attorney general’s office to see if there are any requirements for a warranty. Even if a minimum warranty is not necessary, there may be a requirement that the car can pass a state inspection.

Before you seal the deal, make sure you’ve got all your paperwork in check. Because you’re dealing with a private seller, the burden is on you to ensure that you obtain a bill of sale before you turn over any money. Be sure to check the vehicle’s registration and get the car’s title before paying anything.

Also make sure you know your seller is who he says he is. Something as simple as a driver’s license can confirm the seller’s identity and put you at ease. This precaution, like all the others, is simple to carry out. Overall, make sure what you’re paying for is really what you’re getting. A private seller can be a great option for buying a car, but only if you take the time to make sure that the car you’re buying is the real deal.


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