Buying Used High-Tech Vehicle Checklist – The Important Do’s and Dont’s

used car buying checklist do's and don'ts

Many people these days want to buy a new vehicle with all the creature comforts and technology that they can get, but many want to circumvent the expensive price tag that usually comes with these perks. That’s why a lot of consumers are choosing to buy used cars instead of brand-new vehicles because they can get the model they want, with the features they want, for a reduced price by purchasing a model that is 2 or 3 years old. However, buying a used car is like playing roulette when you’re trying to get into a vehicle that is full of all the latest high-tech gadgets, you run the risk of not actually getting what you pay for.

Things to Look Out for When Buying a Used Car

When you purchase a used vehicle, even if it’s only a year or two old, you have to be sure to do your due diligence in making sure that everything you are being quoted about the vehicle, actually exists with it. If the seller says it has park assist, make sure it has park assist and doesn’t have any issues when this safety feature is actually engaged. Just as if they state that the vehicle has never been in an accident, do a Carfax accident report and make sure that it truly has never been involved in any kind of accident, even a slight fender bender that resulted in an ICBC claim.

Here is our comprehensive checklist of the DO’s and DON’TS of used car buying. Be sure to check the vehicle thoroughly before handing over any cash to the seller, even if it’s a dealership.

Things TO DO before buying a used car:

  • Check for Liens – Make sure that there are no outstanding liens on the vehicle. The last thing you want to deal with is not being able to sell it 5 years down the road because of a debt that isn’t yours. There are many online lien searches available that are rather inexpensive, and it could save you thousands down the road and save you from buying a car that you shouldn’t rightfully be owning at this time.
  • Vehicle Inspection – Often times when you are buying a newer used car from a dealership, especially from the good people at Downtown Kia (Downtown Kia: New Vehicle Dealership | Vancouver, BC ) they will provide you with a vehicle inspection that they performed themselves when they first bought the car off of a customer. If you are however buying a car from a private seller, or a dealership that only sells used cars (especially ones that don’t offer any kind of warranty), you want to ensure that you spend the extra money to have a proper vehicle inspection done by a trusted company. BCAA offers 100-point inspections for a reasonable price, and if you are seriously considering buying the vehicle, it’s worth the one hundred some-odd dollars to have it done. It will save you a big headache and a lot of cash later.
  • Test Drive The Vehicle – You would think this one goes without saying, but there are people out there who buy used vehicles before they even get behind the wheel. If you’re buying a used car, again, even if it’s from a reliable dealership (and especially if it’s not) you need to give the car a test drive. You don’t want to fork out thousands of dollars just to find out 2 days in that it needs a CV joint repair, or that the shocks are gone.
  • Check ALL the Features – If you’re into all the latest technology and gadgets that come with many of today’s newer vehicles, you’ll want to make sure that you test all of them before committing to the purchase. Recently, a couple from Prince George bought a used Tesla 3 for nearly $50,000, only to find out that it didn’t have the auto-pilot option that they were told it had, which was the reason they specifically bought that model.
  • Read the Fine Print – If you’re planning on financing a used car, as even used cars can have a hefty price tag, be sure to read the fine print on your paperwork. We know that the dealership will usually throw a pile of papers at you and highlight the areas where they need you to sign, but take a few extra minutes to look over some key areas of the contract like warranty (if any), insurance that comes with it in case you are unable to work and make your payments, and what your interest rate is. Even some of the most reputable dealerships have snuck in hidden fees in their paperwork, so check it thoroughly before signing. *TIP* Look at the “Documentation Fees”. This is a fee that is often much higher than it should be as dealerships can make a few extra hundred dollars off of their customers (in some cases, a few thousand).

The DON’TS of used car buying:

  • Take a Short Test Drive – Many dealerships want you to get you into the vehicle as quickly as possible, so that they can move on to the next customer, but don’t let them rush you through the test drive just to get you back to the lot to sign the paperwork. Take the vehicle uphill, downhill, on a winding road, on the highway, and even try parking it (both parallel and reverse stall parking). It may sound silly, but some used vehicles not only have their own share of quirks that you may or may not be a fan of, but they can have issues that even the dealership didn’t catch. Listen carefully when you are braking, if you are purchasing a vehicle with park assist, make sure it is working properly, set the e-brake when parking on a hill to make sure it holds properly, and try backing into a stall to make sure you are comfortable with the visibility out the back window.
  • Let the Salesmen Sweet Talk You – We all know how used car salesmen are; about the same as any kind of salesmen; pushy. Even when they are trying to avoid coming off as pushy, they are still being pushy, just in a less intrusive way. Don’t let them distract you with their offers of what they call a “great deal”, and don’t let them create a sense of urgency in you when they try to tell you that it’s the last model they have, or the only one like it. These are just tactics to try to hustle you into buying right away without allowing you, the consumer, the chance to overthink any of the details. BUT overthinking is actually a good thing when it comes to buying used. The best way to keep your focus once you get to the dealership is to write a list before going of what you want, how much you are willing to pay, and what features you absolutely need to have.This will help ensure that they don’t upsell you on a bunch of added features that you don’t even want or need, just so they can keep increasing your bill to up their commission. You’re the one paying the money, so you need to be the one in charge.
  • Believe a Seller When They Say It’s Never Been in an Accident – This is something that many people take a face value, and it’s a very common and pretty big mistake. Just because a used car looks good inside and out, and the seller says it has never been in an accident, doesn’t mean it actually hasn’t. When a vehicle is in a major accident, it only becomes an ICBC write-off when the cost to repair the damage outweighs the value of the vehicle. So, particularly when you’re buying a newer used car, the risk of purchasing a car that has been in an accident, but doesn’t look like it, is even higher.
  • Skip Setting Up Your Features or Car App Accounts – Some vehicles, especially EV cars like the Tesla, come with apps that allow their customers to listen to music, engage autopilot, engage park assist, or help them find their car in a crowded parking lot. Many people are eager to test out the new features, and set up the required accounts right away. While others put it on the back burner and think “I will do it later”. DON’T. Make sure that if you have the option to set up an account, you do it promptly. This will ensure that it’s not still set up to someone else’s information or preferences, and it will make sure that you’ve set up the custom features or options you actually want. One man purchased a used Tesla and ended up with a $4,000 bill because his phone was in his pocket while listening to music on the Tesla app, and it accidentally purchased the optional autopilot feature. This resulted in a lengthy battle with the dealership and Tesla to try to get his money back, which he did in fact win, but nobody needs this hassle.

We Almost Always Pay More than New Car Dealerships Offer for Trade-Ins

If you’re thinking of stepping up your driving game to a newer vehicle, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the best price for your current car when you sell it. The same applies to trading in your used vehicle with a dealership; you’ll want to shop around before committing to any trade-in offer. To make sure that you do in fact get the most money for your car, contact Cash for Cars BC before you visit any dealership. We typically can pay much more than any dealership can offer you for trade-in value and when you sell a vehicle to a trusted car buying business in Vancouver like us, you don’t have to deal with salesmen who try to haggle over what they will pay you to sell your car back to them.

Cash For Cars in Metro Vancouver & the Fraser Valley

Whether you’re selling a used car, truck, SUV, or minivan, you can trust that when you use a licensed and professional car buying company like Cash for Cars BC, you’re not only getting exceptional customer service, you’re getting the most money for your car. We’ve been the leader in The Vancouver, Surrey and Fraser Valley used car buying industry for almost 30 years, and that’s because we truly care about our customers. We strive every day to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations because the best reward for doing good business is a great review.

We recognize that our customers have busy schedules, which is why we make every effort to ensure that the process of selling a used vehicle is as painless as possible. We don’t want to waste your time by haggling back and forth over the price of a car, especially when we know that most of our customers are selling their current vehicle to help them pay to get into a new one. We also work 7 days a week, days and evenings, to better accommodate our customers. And as always, we come to you, and NOBODY pays more cash for cars than we do.

Contact us today to find out how much cash you can get for selling your car!