For buyers who are looking for a great deal on their next set of wheels, looking at Craigslist used cars will undoubtedly provide many options. It is important when looking for a used car to be on the lookout for scams in addition to being careful not to buy into a bad situation with a vehicle that’s not all that the seller claims it to be. Read below for some detailed tips on looking for your next used car on Craigslist.
Safety first-Follow the tips below to keep yourself safe from dangerous situations:
- Never go alone, always bring a friend or family member
- Meet in a public area-always! Even if you meet the seller again at a later date, always keep all meetings public
Finding Good Craigslist Used Cars
Looking to Craigslist used cars for your next vehicle can be an exciting venture but it’s important to know how to sort through the ads effectively so that you can really find the car that you have been looking for. It may be easiest to search by make and model, but you can also search by mileage or even “single owner” if you’re looking for a classic or hard to find vehicle that may appeal to collectors.
It’s also very easy to search for vehicles based on cost. Searching by car that only have photos is a great way to weed out the slew of sellers who are not serious enough to put a photo of the vehicle on ad.
Additionally, be sure that the photo is an actual photo of the car, not an image copied/pasted from a car lot ad or manufacturer website. Always ask the seller, after dialogue has been established, if they have any other photos of the vehicle, inside and out.
What to Look for in a Good Used Car
Mileage - When it comes to mileage, you may need to do some math. Estimate 10k-15k miles per year for the age of the vehicle. If the mileage is much more than that you may want to ask what kind of traveling the car was used for. Was it a lot of highway miles or a lot of stop and go?
Bodywork – The last thing you want is a salvaged car with homemade bodywork to try to sell off to an unsuspecting victim. Be sure to check with the Department of Motor Vehicles for your state to see if the title is salvage and check under the car at major points including the axel where a lot of body work is bonded to make it appear like a usable vehicle. It may be a great deal but not if the car doesn’t last.
Modifications – If there are modifications made to the body of the car this can affect the way the vehicle handles and may affect any warranties that may apply. Be sure to ask for all maintenance records and inspect for body modifications.
Tire Wear – Are the tires new or well worn. This can become another expense after the car is purchased. Some sellers may even put older tires on a car they are selling if they think they can sell the good tires on their own for a few bucks. If the tires are considerably worn down ask the seller if they can negotiate on a lower price to help you cover the cost of new tires.
Test drive – After checking out the above, it’s time to take the vehicle for a test drive. Be sure to test drive on different surfaces and always include a little stop and go as well as taking the vehicle on the freeway or highway for a couple of exits. It’s important to know how the car will react when pushed a little on the highway, especially if it was formerly a commuter vehicle with a lot of in-town mileage and stop and go. You need a car that will effectively meet your needs.
Important Sales Process Tips When Buying A Used Vehicle
For those buyers who are wanting to buy in cash, it may be better to go with the seller in the vehicle (good opportunity for more test driving) to a local Money Tree or bank to get money orders with them in your presence. We actually took this approach when selling our car before moving across the country. It provides a record of sale and the teller will check the bills for fake money. So it’s a win-win.
If it’s a title transfer, meet at the bank where the title is held. Don’t wait or count on the seller to do this. It’s best to get all finalities of the sale done together. These are simple requests to be made to the seller, if their recommendations on how the transactions sound shady, it’s best to just walk away.
In conclusion, Craigslist used cars provides many great deals for people who are willing to put in some time and effort to researching their next vehicle. Always use caution when meeting in person and know what you are looking for before you meet with the seller. By following our tips you can confidently navigate through the Craigslist used cars site for your next used car.