Nowadays, it’s fairly easy to find a late model used vehicle with all the modern conveniences you love. If you’re lucky, it’s possible that the manufacturer’s warranty is still valid, or the dealership you’re buying from may offer limited coverage. If the car you want to purchase is being sold “as is” though, a dealer warranty is not available. So what should you do if you want an “as is” car? We’ve put together some tips to help you out.
An “as is” vehicle does not include a warranty from the dealership, meaning the buyer accepts any existing and future issues that the vehicle may have. If you discover a mechanical or cosmetic issue while owning the vehicle the dealer is not obligated to repair it or offer you a refund. Now, this doesn’t mean that an “as is” car isn’t worth considering, it’s just wise to know the risks before you make the purchase.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, dealers are legally required to display a Buyers Guide with a warranty disclosure specifying that a used vehicle is being sold “as is.” The Buyers Guide appears as a window sticker, making it easier for shoppers to know the terms of sale when seeing the vehicle in person. The same information must appear on the sales contract, so be sure to review all the paperwork before signing.
Before you make the decision to purchase an “as is” car you should research that model. Find out what known issues the car may have, figure out if there are any parts that may wear out faster than others. Try to get as specific as possible in your research. Some cars have issues that are isolated to a model year or trim. If there’s an issue that is known to arise after 50,000 miles, then it’s important to pay attention to the mileage while you shop. You should also keep an eye out for ways to easily identify a particular problem.
Order a vehicle history report if one isn’t already provided. It’s valuable to know the history of the car you’re buying, specifically if it’s been involved in any accidents. You can purchase a vehicle history report from services like CarFax or AutoCheck, which receive data on reported events such as change of ownership, accident damage, and theft. This provides a better idea of the car’s previous life.
An “as is” car isn’t something you should be afraid of, but it’s important to do your homework up front to make sure the savings don’t disappear as soon as you’re handed the keys.