The rip offs!
Iv been in and around the motor trade all my working life, iv had my hands on more cars than you could shake a stick at. And iv decided to let you in on a few secrets. If you find this info helpful please let me know and ill write more!
There is no black art to finding a good car, just common sense.
Scam number 1. Traders passing themselves off as a private seller! I call them SECRET TRADERS and the world is full of them, and the reason they do this is to get away from there legal obligation to provide you with some kind of warranty. If a trader sells you a car and it has an MOT it has to be fit for purpose! IE to be fit and safe for the use on a public road. If they are a private seller there is no obligation and this is the main reason that they will lie to you!
You can spot these people quite easily on eBay by looking at feedback, lots of car sales = Motor Trader, simple!
Now I'm not saying don't bid, because if all feedback left is good then its probably safe to assume they are describing their cars fairly and that's a good thing, but if you start seeing a trend of negative feedback leave it alone and look elsewhere!
A nice way of catching a SECRET TRADER out, is if you phone a seller up don't say, "Hello I'm calling about the Vectra", start with " hello I'm calling about the car", If their a trader they will most likely have more than one car for sale and will be forced to say which one! Ive caught out countless people like this, it works a treat!
Also how long have they owned the car? 5 mins and its for sale! be aware ! iv heard it all, "its to big, to small, the wife don't like it". although this can sometimes be true, bells should start to ring !!! if you think that they're lieing they will probably lie about other things.
Scam number 2. Buttering up a car for sale, IE making it appear to be in better condition than it really is. Its easy to spot if you know what to look for, most cars have accidents, its bound to happen at sometime in a cars long life but if its not repaired properly it will affect the value of the car and may make the car unsafe. Look out for paint on panels that's a different shade of colour to the rest of the car, look out for over spray on glass, plastic trim, window rubbers etc. I recently viewed a car and as soon as i got there i could see the rear had seen some new paint, i asked the seller about it and he said it had not been sprayed and had not been damaged in anyway. I didn't bother to point out that the tail pipe was the same colour as the body work and there were traces of over spray on one of the rear tyres! its best to walk away from a blatant liar. Also look under carpet in the boot for signs of repairs and under the bonnet, look for creased metal, weld marks, fresh paint, sealant lines and anything that looks unusual.
Scam number 3. Clocking, IE changing the mileage to achieve a higher sale price. People seem to think that digital clocks cant be "clocked"! that is so far from the truth, it makes it very easy. Anyone with a laptop and the right software can make anything they like appear on the dashboard. I know of several companies that will do the job for £30 or £40 no questions asked, if i was selling a car with 170000 miles showing on the clock it would hard to sell at a premium price, spending £30 on the clocks to be changed to 70000 miles will add hundreds to the value of the car!
Its not the easiest thing to spot nowadays because modern cars wear so well. But there are still signs to be seen! look out for worn and shiny steering wheel and gear knob, holes in carpet where the drivers heel has been and a ripped drivers seat. If the car has low mileage you MUST to see proof. Service history is the best evidence especially if its from a main dealer, old MOT certificates are also a helpful tool to back up mileage claims, as are receipts from garages if they recorded the mileage and date the work was carried out. If someone is selling a low mileage car with no evidence to back it up i would be suspicious!
Some last tips! ALWAYS look for white sludge on the inside of oil filler caps and check the water hasn't turned black, this means the head gasket has gone and its a very common fault, its not checked on an MOT and some people will put 12months ticket on a car and sell it fast if they discover this problem. Its not a cheap job to sort out!
Listen to the engine, you shouldn't hear any heavy knocking, rattling, squeaking, whistling or anything other than the sweet sound of an engine doing what it should do. I know this can be hard for the untrained ear. If possible have a listen to a friend's car that is known to run fine that's the same as the car your thinking about buying. train your ear to that sound and compare the two. I can tell if I'm interested in buying a car within 2 seconds of hearing an engine running and you can do that too!
Its always a good idea to see if the engines been warmed up before you turn the key, i like to feel the engine to see if it cold before i start the car up. Its amazing how many cars cold start badly and how many people will try and hide that from you!
I hope this information has been useful to you!
Thanks for reading and good luck with the car hunting.............. chad.....................AKA sylar17