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A Few Tricks for Surviving a Used Car Dealership

In 2016, many consumers have decided to switch over to used car buying. While there are still some dealerships out there that are looking to trick you, they are few and far between. With that in mind, this article isn’t geared towards avoiding getting screwed at a dealership. Rather, this is more oriented towards helping you out so you don’t screw yourself over. After all, a lot of the reasons consumers are unsatisfied with their car buying experience is because they didn’t read the contract closely enough, failed to notice something wrong with the vehicle, etc.

Here are a few things to do at a used car dealership that not a lot of people know about.

Look Inside the Trunk, and Anywhere Else Out of Plain Sight

We already know that inspecting a vehicle is important, especially when it comes to a used car. You never want to buy a vehicle without first giving it a thorough look through and a test drive.

But, did you know that one of the most important places to look is the trunk? Next to the undercarriage, the trunk can tell you a lot about the overall condition of the vehicle. For example, if you open the trunk and it’s damp, rotted out, or smells funny, chances are it’s leaking. This is not only concerning for the condition of the trunk, but for the rest of the vehicle as well. If that moisture rots through the trunk, it will eventually reach the frame. Then, it will start rusting the frame out. Obviously, this rust will spread.

Following this logic, make sure to check the rest of the interior of the vehicle as well. If it’s damp or “rotting” inside, chances are the integrity of the entire vehicle is compromised.

Ask for a Vehicle History Report

Something many people might forget about — or not bother with — is the vehicle history report. If the dealership doesn’t offer one, then you can find one online via Car Fax. Simply get the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the vehicle off the dealer’s website, and look into the history of the vehicle.

Since it’s used, chances are it will have considerable history, depending on its age. You want to make sure everything matches up with what the dealership is telling you, along with what the vehicle looks like, and any repairs that were made to it.

Yes, you can get such detailed reports on used cars. Most dealerships do have them, so make sure to ask.

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

Something else a lot of people don’t know about when it comes to used car shopping: negotiating. Just because it’s a used vehicle doesn’t mean the price is set in stone. Just like new cars, the dealership got the vehicle for a dealer price, and you can figure that out by using Kelly Blue Book. Just like negotiating with new cars, you’ll want to start at this price and go up — not at the price the dealership is asking.

While there’s plenty more to learn when it comes to surviving a used car dealership, you’ll want to utilize these few lesser-known “tricks” in order to make sure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot while shopping.