We talked about the vehicle search in the last section of Buying A Used Car. By now, you’ve searched your area for the kinds of vehicles you need that are fairly priced within your budget. Hopefully, you’ve found some vehicles you want to look at, and you’ve made a list of some sort so that you can view them all. Now it’s time for contacting the seller; you’ll need to call the individual or dealer to make an appointment.
If you’re planning to view a vehicle advertised by an individual, you’ll definitely want to call to make sure he/she is available to meet with you. Even if you plan to look at a car at a dealership, you’ll still want to call to make an appointment thus ensuring that the car is available and not on a test drive when you arrive. In either case, you’ll want to make sure the vehicle hasn’t been recently sold; sometimes it takes a while for the ad to be removed after a car has sold. Also, a call gives you an opportunity to ask questions about the vehicle that were not addressed in the ad. Usually these questions can include, but aren’t limited to, how many owners, if a service record is available, if a Carfax is available, if it’s had any major work recently, if it’s had any modifications, if it’s been serviced recently (if so, what was serviced), If you’re talking with an individual seller, a good question to ask is, “Why are you selling it?” You could get any one of a number of responses, but they’re very inciteful. If you listen closely enough, it can tell you a good bit about the seller; then you can decide the level of credibility you can attribute to him/her. Just make sure to have your baloney detector turned on. At this point, you’re just contacting the seller; don’t engage in negotiating yet, especially in the initial call- wait until after the test drive, which is the next step we’ll look at.