Buying a used car can sometimes feel like navigating a minefield, especially when trusting the dealer’s word about the vehicle’s history. High-pressure sales tactics may indicate that a dealer wants to move a problematic vehicle quickly.
A trustworthy dealer should be comfortable discussing the car’s history and providing documentation. If they’re evasive, overly pushy or seem to discourage you from asking questions, these could be red flags. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the chance you get caught out:
Ask for documentation
A credible dealer should provide a vehicle history report upon request. This document can include past ownership, any accidents, service points and whether the car was subject to any recalls. If a dealer hesitates to provide this or insists it’s unnecessary, it’s a sign they might be hiding something.
Check for inconsistencies
When examining the vehicle, look for inconsistencies with the report or the dealer’s story. This includes mismatched paint, which might indicate bodywork from an undisclosed accident, or new upholstery that could be covering up flood damage. Any signs of significant repairs not listed on the vehicle history report could cause concern.
Insist on having the vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic before purchasing. A third-party professional can provide an unbiased assessment of the car’s condition and may uncover issues the dealer did not disclose.
Review service records
Ask for the car’s maintenance records to see if the service history matches the dealer’s description and the vehicle history report. Frequent repairs or a lack of routine maintenance can suggest problems the dealer may not have disclosed.
If you do unearth mistruths by the dealer at any point in the process, explore your options for seeking compensation to cover the damages you’re dealing with.