Beware Buying Used Cars Online

Today it’s possible to handle the tasks associated with purchasing a new or used car from the comfort of your home. You’ll generally have two options during the online car-buying experience: purchasing the vehicle from your local dealership’s internet sales department or buying your car from an online platform. Should you find what appears to be a great deal on a highly desirable vehicle, if you’re thinking about buying a used car online, there are reasons to be cautious. You want to keep these things in mind before transferring your hard-earned cash:

  • Look for listings that have multiple quality pictures. There should be pictures of many different angles of the car, interior and exterior. If there are barely any pictures, it can be a sign that the seller is omitting a problem area. If you’re serious about the purchase, don’t be afraid to ask for more photos, and feel free to be specific about what you’d like to see.
  • It will take a decent amount of time for your vehicle to get delivered to you. Sadly, there isn’t a two-day shipping option like there is with Amazon. If you purchase your vehicle at a dealership however, you’ll be driving off the lot the same day. There is a chance that the warranty for the vehicle you purchase online is very limited, and it may expire by the time it gets to you. Be sure to ask detailed questions.
  • If the person or organization that you are buying a car from online is unwilling to provide a free copy of the vehicle’s history report, they are not to be trusted and you shouldn’t purchase from them.
  • State regulations for motor vehicles vary from state to state. If you purchase a car online in one state and have it delivered to your state, it might not comply with things like emission standards. Paperwork can also be tricky when you buy used cars online. Each state has its own paperwork requirements, and some don’t accept electronic signatures. Be sure to do your research, else a “great deal” might not be so great in the end.

The bottom line is that unless you see the car and inspect it for yourself, there’s no way of knowing the true condition of the car. There is a possibility of ending up with a car that has a malfunction or even an issue the seller themselves are unaware of. It can be a gamble, and it’s good to have as much information as possible to deduce if it’s really worth it.

How DIY Auto Maintenance Maintains Your Car’s Value

Many people don’t realize just how much performing basic maintenance can affect the resale value of their vehicle. Keeping your vehicle in good shape, both outside and in makes it more desirable to either dealerships or individual buyers when you get ready to switch rides. Over the years cars have become more complicated, though for good reason. The advancement of technology has brought increases to fuel economy, power, and reliability. With the expansion of technology though, some maintenance has become more complex or requires proprietary tools for the job. That said, there are still plenty of things that even the most novice shade tree mechanic can still do at home to keep their vehicle happy and healthy. Here are five things you can do to keep your car both safe and valuable:

Tire Pressure/Tire Tread

Checking and adjusting your tire pressure only takes a few minutes and can save you hundreds of dollars in replacement costs. A tire gauge is only a few dollars, a tire inflator can be purchased for as low as twenty dollars, and if you have a local gas station with free air, even better! Keeping your tires at a proper pressure helps your tires last longer, keeps you safely in control of your vehicle (especially during inclement weather), and optimizes fuel economy. Checking the tread is very important for your safety as well, as having bad traction causes accidents. You can get a tool to check tire tread for only a couple dollars, and it takes just a few minutes to check all four tires. If any get below 2/32” (4/32” in snow or rain) you should replace them in either pairs or sets of four. For someone looking at your vehicle for sale or trade, uneven tread wear or droopy tires can be red flags. 

Fuel Filters

Fuel filters have an average price of $15 depending on the car, but can save you hundreds of dollars in engine repair costs if changed regularly. Fuel filters are important to keep fuel injection and carburetor systems clean and working properly. It is imperative to release the fuel system pressure before replacing the fuel filter to avoid damage or injury, but if in doubt look for directions per your specific make, model, and year. 

Oil Change

This can be more involved, but can save you a good amount of money . Changing engine oil on your own requires car ramps or a jack and jack stands, and very important: tire chocks. Never put any part of your body under a vehicle supported only by a jack. You will also need a drain pan, funnel, nitrile gloves, and rags, which go a long way toward keeping things clean. Be sure to recycle used oil at your local shop or auto parts store.

Replacing Bulbs

Bulbs don’t last forever, and they can burn out when you least expect it. If a headlight or tail light blows, it will be harder to see at night, and you are at risk of getting pulled over and getting a fine. Also, as per their purpose, it’s nice if you can see to navigate the road, and be seen by other drivers. Fortunately, many bulbs are user-replaceable, often without tools or with just a screwdriver. It’s a good idea to replace headlight bulbs in pairs. This also falls under things a prospective buyer can see during their inspection, and though it may seem minor, it immediately affects the way they feel about the potential unperformed maintenance elsewhere in the vehicle.

Replacing Wipers

Wiper blades help you see in all kinds of weather and situations, whether it’s snow, rain, bugs, or dust. Over time, the rubber wiper blades can wear and degrade, leading to poor visibility, and unwanted noise, such as squeaking. Neglecting to replace the blades could even lead to permanent windshield damage. Fortunately, replacing wiper blades only takes a couple minutes, usually by hand or with a screwdriver.

Following these five tips can go a long way in squeezing extra money out of your sale or trade. If you’d like more information and details on maintaining your vehicle, you may also want to check out some Chilton repair manuals.