10 Red Flags for Used Vehicles

January 8th, 2019 by

Used car with price sticker

Used car buying isn’t what it used to be. Nowadays, you can find reliable pre-owned vehicles at fair prices if you know what — and who — to avoid. If you’re shopping for a used car near Elk Grove, be prepared! Check out Kareem Auto Sales Inc’s list of 10 red flags for used vehicles below.

1. Automotive Recalls

Automotive recalls is one of many reasons it’s important to do extensive research before buying a used car. Manufacturers issue recalls if a model is defective or unsafe in any way. If you suspect a used car for sale has outstanding recalls, visit safercar.gov and enter its VIN to check its recall history.

2. Extremely Low Price

The saying “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” applies here. While it’s possible to find great used cars at low prices, it’s a smart idea to always proceed with caution. If a car is priced well below its market value and the seller can’t wait to get rid of it, it’s likely in need of repairs.

3. Incorrect or Missing Title

If a seller doesn’t have the title for the car they’re selling, walk away and don’t look back. Without the car’s title, they don’t have the legal right to sell it. If the seller does have a title, make sure it’s legitimate; it should have the state seal, anti-counterfeit marks, correct VIN, and the seller’s name.

4. Suspicious Price Adjustments

Are there vague charges listed on the car’s window sticker at the dealership? The dealer may call them “Market Value Adjustments” or “Adjusted Dealer Markups.” In some cases, these adjustments are made legitimately for features like a sunroof or navigation, but in others, they’re just cash-grabs. Ask for more info on each charge listed.

5. Pushy Seller

This applies to a variety of situations. If a seller refuses to play by the rules, they could be trying to hide some negative aspect of the car. Don’t waste your time dealing with sellers who refuse to consent to a full-fledged inspection or test drive — or those who do consent but try to control the situation.

6. Sketchy Interior

It should go without saying that stains, tears in the upholstery, or cracks in the trimming are signs the car hasn’t been treated well. But what about new carpet? To some shoppers, that’s a plus — however, it could be a sign the car was flooded, especially if nothing else was upgraded. Check the title for more info.

7. Mismatched Exterior Paint

Does the car have splotches of paint that don’t match its other body panels? If so, it’s best to walk away. Mismatched paint is a sign of rust, damage, or repairs. Chances are the seller is trying to cover up flaws, and it’s best to move on and find a better car.

8. Unnecessary Finance Charges

True — one of the benefits of buying used from a dealership is access to financing. However, it’s crucial to always read the fine print. Ask questions and make sure you know how much you’ll pay a month and for how long. You may also be offered extras such as glass etching or paint sealant — which increase your car loan amount. Do your research ahead of time and decide what’s important.

9. Not Enough Paperwork

Responsible owners document the life of their car. If a seller doesn’t have service records and the car’s price is low, they’re probably trying to pass repairs on to you. Sellers with the proper documentation tend to mark their vehicles based on market value and have the records to back up the car’s worth.

10. General Signs of Defects

Use your best judgment; if a car looks or feels wrong, don’t buy it. Look out for excessive rust, a worn tailpipe, or illuminated dash lights. During your test drive, pay special attention to how the car handles and sounds. If something’s off, ask the seller and double-check the title and history report. At the end of the day, it’s best to follow your intuition.

Shop High-Quality Used Cars at Kareem Auto Sales Inc!

Find out why car shoppers from Roseville to Folsom choose Kareem Auto Sales Inc for reasonably priced used cars, trucks, and SUVs. Contact us to schedule a test drive with one of our used cars in Sacramento, or to learn more about our pre-owned specials!

More from Kareem Auto Sales Inc

  • 10 Red Flags for Used Vehicles

    Used car buying isn’t what it used to be. Nowadays, you can find reliable pre-owned vehicles at fair prices if you know what — and who — to avoid. If you’re shopping for a used car near Elk Grove, be prepared! Check out Kareem Auto Sales Inc’s list of 10 red flags for used vehicles below. Contact Us What…

  • How to Prepare Your Truck for Off-Roading

    Considering one of our used Ford F-150 or used Toyota Tacoma trucks for sale? If so, you may be wondering how to prepare your truck for off-roading. Kareem Auto Sales Inc near Elk Grove can help! Check out our tips below to learn more about how to prep your pre-owned truck before you head off the beaten path. Contact…

  • What Are In-House Financing Car Dealers?

    An in-house finance car dealer offers financing through the dealership, so payments are made directly to the dealership and not a bank. The lender will still need to approve the loan, but in-house financing gives drivers in the Elk Grove area a head-start on receiving quick approval. Learn more about the in-house financing at Kareem Auto Sales Inc before…

Posted in Buying Advice, Tips