Red Flags When Buying a Used Car

If you’re wary of buying a used car, you’re not alone. Perhaps you’ve heard horror stories of people getting ripped off when buying a used car, or maybe you have that image of the dishonestly used car salesman ingrained in your mind from TV shows and movies. Whatever your reason for hesitating to buy a used car, it’s essential that you genuinely consider all your options. As long as you follow the proper steps to buy your used car and you approach the deal with both eyes open, you can get an excellent vehicle for a low price. But if you notice any of these red flags when shopping for a used car, be sure to walk away.

Too Good to Be True

It’s a common saying that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. This is something you should keep in mind when buying a used car. Do your research to figure out the fair market value for the car you’re looking at. If you find something that’s a bit cheaper, you should take a closer look; you might be getting a good deal on something great. But if the price is thousands lower than its value, you should be skeptical. The seller might be hiding something about the car and trying to offload it quickly.

Buying Sight Unseen

You should never, ever buy a used car without seeing it in person. It’s easy for sellers to post photos of a different car, or for a car to look great in the pictures but run terribly when you drive it. You should be able to take a close, personal look at the car, and at least start the engine and make sure everything seems to be running smoothly. Hopefully, the seller will let you take it for a test drive (with them in the passenger seat) but not every private seller is comfortable with that. If someone is only willing to sell you their car based on online photos, walk away.

Refusal of Inspection

When buying a used car, it’s always a good idea to have it inspected by a professional mechanic before you buy it. It’s normal for the buyer to pay for this inspection, so don’t balk if the seller asks you to foot the bill. However, you should be suspicious if they refuse to allow an inspection altogether. If you’re paying for it, there’s no reason a seller shouldn’t let the car be inspected—unless there’s something they’re trying to hide. If you ask for a pre-purchase inspection and they say no, then you should be saying no to the purchase too.

If you’re looking for a car, but you’re wary of buying new, look for a used BMW dealership in Houston. Buying from a used car dealer offers more protections and fewer potential issues than buying from a private seller.