What to know before purchasing a New or Used car!

Well I went out with my parents recently to look at “new” used cars with them. I am not real good at car shopping at all. I like to go get what I want and be done with it as fast as possible. Well as it turns out I am glad I went.

We went to 3 different dealerships in Tulsa, the first 2 we did not really see anything that was what they were looking for. We ended up at the 3rd dealership and they looked at several cars that were later models but still looked very nice. The only problem that I could see with buying an older used car is that they would not have ANY factory warranty because the warrant is only good for 36 months or 36K miles. Well that is not 36 months from when you buy it; it is 36 months from when it is originally sold to the first owner. The sales man kept telling us about this warranty but when I called him on it he said well you are right but they will get a 12 month 12K miles because it is a certified car. Well ok at least there is some sort of warranty.

After all that we find a car that we all really liked and it is a little newer and really did have some factory warranty left on it. Well as I walk around the car looking at it I notice the pretty chrome molding around the windows is dented on the driver’s side and it has several spots not just 1 or 2. (Now keep in mind I was not the one raised in the body shop, Randy was. I sell houses for a living. But after being married to him for 14 years and actually working side by side with him for the last 2 years I have started picking up a few things here and there.) So when we went inside to start dealing with the salesman I mentioned I thought it had some hail damage and he very quickly told me “no that is not what that is”. Well humm, I am not the expert we will take it to the expert and ask him what he thinks.

So we took the car on a solo test drive and brought it home to look at a little closer. Keep in mind this is a PRETTY CAR! I called Randy on the way and asked him to look at it and see what he thought, so he did. Ding, Ding, Ding… Not only does the car have a little hail damage on the window trim like I noticed but it had been BEAT with hail. I am not tall enough to see the top of the car but he was. Well come to find out that someone had attempted to fix the damage but did not do a good job. There were holes drilled here there and everywhere in the car that proved the work had been done. If the dents are repaired by a GOOD Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) person (we use Top Dog PDR 918-440-5856) you will never see the holes if he has to drill them and he only drills them if he has exhausted EVERY other option. Now the problem with a bad fix on hail damage is that you take a chance that in the future the paint will lift from the car and then where does that leave you. A leopard print car… that is great for home decor but not a cars paint job.

If that car had been fixed the right way it would NOT have been a problem at all but it is all in the way it was fixed and the fact that the salesperson did not know or did not want us to know it had had work done on it. Nevertheless, when it was all said and done they did not buy that car. They went back to the 1st dealership and found a car that was even better and got an even better deal.

Moral of the story… ALWAYS have a professional look at a car New or Used before you buy it and base your decision off that information. You cannot trust that a dealership is acting in your best interest; it is not like buying a house at all. It is illegal for the seller or Real Estate professional to hide or misrepresent the condition of a home to a buyer but not a car. A good, experienced auto estimator or body damage specialist will be able to tell you if the vehicle has evidence of previous damage (hail, wreck or whatever). I can’t even begin to tell you how many times we have had a wrecked car in the shop and we uncover previous damage that was not fixed right and current owners never even knew about.

For most families a car is the second most expensive purchase you will ever make, don’t get suckered! Do some research on your own! Have a professional look at the vehicle before you buy!

Liz Pruitt