Tips to Buying a Car from a Private Seller

a man and a woman by a car contemplating if they want to buy a car from a private seller

Buying a car from a private seller may save you some money compared to buying from a dealership. However, you still want to do some research to make sure you are getting a good deal. Here are five tips to follow when purchasing a car from a private seller:

Do Research

When you find a car that you are interested in, you will have to do your homework on the car. First, start with a vehicle history report. The report will disclose any accidents or damage the car has had. Afterward, ask the owner questions such as if they have a service record of the maintenance done on the car or if there are issues with the car. This will help you get a better idea of the car. 

Take a Test Drive

You can get a better feel for the car by taking it out for a test drive. Note how the brakes and suspension feel as it drives. Keep an ear out for any odd noises, especially when accelerating and braking. Check to make sure that certain functions such as the turn signal and lights work. 

Get an Inspection

Take the car to a mechanic so they can perform a safety inspection on it. They will be able to tell you if there are any issues with the car. The mechanic can also determine if there is any damage caused by an accident that was not reported. Find a local mechanic that you trust to look at the car thoroughly. 

Shop for Financing

Unless you have cash on the spot to pay for the full price of the car, you will need to get financing. Shop around for different financing options. Some banks will offer loans specifically designed for private auto sales. Look around at different loans and see where you can get the best rate. 

Get the Paperwork

After you and the seller have agreed to a final price and your financing is covered, you will want to get the paperwork for the car. This includes the title being signed over to you, lien information, and odometer disclosure statement. After filing the paperwork and paying any fees, you will get a new car title under your name. If you’re dealing with someone from another state, make sure to check our post on how to ship a car to another state to know what mistakes to avoid.

In Conclusion

Buying a car from a private seller will require some more time and effort from you. Before you finalize the sale, make sure you do things such as ask questions, do a test drive, and get an inspection done by a trusted mechanic. If done right, you can purchase a used car at a lower price than at a dealership. 

Five Questions to Ask Before Buying a Used Car

 A woman in a dress and red heels, smiling at the camera as she is set up in buying a used car in color yellow

Buying a used car can be a great way to get behind the wheel of an excellent automobile without spending a lot of cash. However, since no two pre-owned vehicles are alike, you must first find out more about the vehicle before you sign on the dotted line. If you’re looking at a used car in another state, best be looking at auto transport reviews. This will help you determine mistakes you may make before you ship vehicles to you.

But in particular, you will want to find the answers to the following questions:

1.    Has the car been involved in any accidents?

This is a crucial question as it helps you find out whether the car has any performance issues. You can find this information out by asking the dealer directly or by using sites like Carfax or Vehiclehistory.com. Checking the paintwork, bringing your mechanic along to the dealership, and being on the lookout for clamp marks are a few other methods you can use to check a used car’s accident history. Asking about a car’s accident history will help you know how much you will need to spend to fix any performance issues in addition to helping you determine whether the car is safe enough for you and your family to travel in.

2.    Why is the owner selling this used car?

It is important to find out whether the owner wants to sell to upgrade to a newer or bigger car, or because of performance issues.  If the owner reveals that he has to get the car serviced or repaired every so often, then you might want to give that particular vehicle a pass.

3.    Whose name is on the pink slip?

Find out whose name is on the car’s title. If you are buying directly from an individual, then his/her name should be on the slip. The same goes for a dealership that should have its name printed on the cars it is selling. If the title is in a bank’s name, then it means that the seller has an outstanding loan that you will need to clear before the title can be transferred to you. In addition, if the seller is unwilling or unable to show you the pink slip, it is probably best to walk away in order to avoid being scammed.

4.    What is the used car’s mileage?

A vehicle with low mileage will usually give you service longer without requiring major service. A low mileage car will also sell easier in case you decide to dispose of it. Further, banks are more willing to offer to finance on low mileage cars as opposed to high mileage options. You can find this information by asking the owner to show you the odometer, using Carfax, or contacting the department of motor vehicles.

5.    What are the common problems with buying a used car?

Find out typical problems for the particular model you want to purchase. All models have problems but you will want to stay away from those that require expensive repairs or replacement. Common problems include; faulty gearboxes (BMW 3 series), malfunctioning brakes (land rover discovery), and failing alternators (Ford Focus). If the model you are interested in has one or more of these problems, you may want to move on to the next option.

In Closing

By asking and answering the questions outlined above, you can successfully find out the information you need to know about your prospective purchase. If you are satisfied with the results of your inquiries, you can then take possession of the keys and drive away in your new ride.

All-Wheel Drive vs. Snow Tires: Which is Better for Winter Driving?

a red vehicle in contrast to which is between between all-wheel drive and snow tires

The combination of freezing road surfaces and slippery snow makes winter driving treacherous. Drivers have two choices to stay safe: an all-wheel-drive car or a two-wheel drive car equipped with snow tires. Learn the strengths of each option to decide whether you are better served by snow tires or an all-wheel-drive car.

Why Buy All-Wheel Drive Autos for Winter?

Whether you prefer an SUV, crossover, truck, or car, you will find a version equipped with all-wheel drive, which chooses whether to send power to the front or back tires depending on the terrain. Two-wheel drive autos, in contrast, send power either to the front or back depending on the individual make and model. The advantage of all-wheel drive is that power goes where your car needs it to improve traction in rough terrains, such as winter weather.

If you live in an area with heavy winters or wet, muddy springs, all-wheel drive is a smart choice. These cars can give drivers peace of mind that is well worth their extra price.

One of the cons is their gas mileage, which tends to be less than comparable two-wheel-drive cars. You will pay more upfront for all-wheel drive, plus more each time you gas up, so two-wheel drive cars are a better choice for budget shoppers.

Why Buy Snow Tires for Winter

Fans of snow tires like the ability to get better traction on winter roads just by putting on a new set of tires. Dedicated snow tires have a more flexible tread that grips the road and freezing conditions, which helps to reduce skids. These tires have a deeper groove than all-season tires, which increases traction on snow and ice. With all-season tires, there’s a risk of skidding if the tire treads become impacted by snow and ice.

If you live in an area that only sees snow occasionally, snow tires should suffice. As long as you remove them promptly at the end of winter, you will be able to use them for several years to come.

Winter tires or snow tires are not cheap, but they do cost less than an all-wheel-drive car. End-of-season sales often bring discounts. By planning ahead, you can save money. If you are planning to go out of the state, you may want to decide on the shipping factor as well. Know how to ship a car to another state that can save you a little more money in your pocket.

Now that you understand how snow tires are compared to all-wheel-drive vehicles, you can decide what’s best for you. With either choice, it’s important to stay safe and remember basic winter driving principles. 

Sell Your Car: 4 Steps to Take Before You Do

A woman in orange shirt stretching outside her car during sunset as she prepares to sell her car

To sell your car privately can seem complicated if you’ve never done it before but if you take the right steps, it doesn’t have to be difficult. You want to get the highest price for your car and avoid being low-balled by a private buyer. To do so, you’ll want to make sure your car looks great and that you are ready for a sale at any time. 

1. Have Your Car Detailed 

Getting your car detailed before selling it is vital. You will most certainly get more money when you sell than what you spent on the detail. A clean car fetches a higher price tag but it won’t be enough to clean your car yourself. After years of use, there are likely small marks and stains on your seats and rugs. You will be impressed by how sparkling a detailer can get your car to look. Don’t let your car look dingy, it will cost you money on the sales price. 

2. Get a Clean Inspection Before You Sell Your Car

You will sell your car more quickly if you have an inspection done to make sure there is nothing wrong with your car that requires a repair. If a repair does need to be made, it’s best to fix it yourself or disclose it in your ad. Whoever purchases your car privately will likely want to have their own inspection done and if their mechanic finds anything unsavory, it will have been a waste of your time. Get a clean bill of health on your car so you can assure buyers they will have no issues. 

3. Gather Your Documents

There are a variety of documents you will need in order to sell your car. The vehicle title, registration, insurance card, and bill of sale will all be required. Don’t potentially lose a sale because you were unprepared before meeting with your buyer. Have all your documentation readily available in case someone wants to purchase your car on the spot. 

4. Get an Appraisal 

While you can use Kelly Blue Book for a general estimate of what your car is worth, you may benefit from speaking to a professional. Go to a car dealership and offer to sell the car to a dealer. The dealer may not offer what you want immediately, but you can use the amount they were willing to pay as an estimate of your car’s worth. It is important to know the value of your car as a private seller may want to haggle on the cost. 

Be prepared prior to make the decision to sell your car. Making sure your car looks its best and is in tip-top shape will ensure that you make as much money as possible on the sale of your car. If you have a buyer outside the state, you might want to check our post on Ship Car to Another State and find out extra details on how to do it too.

Automobile Insurance: Tips on How to Save Money

A smiling girl by her car window trying to think of ways on how to save money from automobile insurance

Automobile insurance is an essential element for all vehicle owners. People look for ways to save money on daily purchases but forget about cutting expenses on recurring payments, including car insurance. Since indemnity provider quotes count as soft inquires and don’t affect financial worthiness, you can frequently shop around without fear of lowering credit scores. Another thing, if you’re thinking of getting off a car online, check and see does Ebay ship cars. This will help you figure out if you’re able to save some finances from that transaction and see if you need insurance for that as well.

To get the best rates possible, use the following tips:

Understand Automobile Insurance Criteria

Insurance companies use individual driving history as a major factor when determining rates. However, several dynamics beyond personal control count as well. These factors include local crime rates, home location, and the state of the economy. The type of car and personal credit ratings also affect premiums. That’s why you should make sure to keep controllable factors in a positive light.

Use Discounts Wisely

Since each insurance company offers different discounts, shop around to find the ones that fit. Some insurers offer discounts to certain groups, including retirees, military members, federal employees, students, and veterans. Look for markdowns based on driving history, lifestyle, vehicle safety equipment, and short commuting habits.

Safe drivers can take advantage of usage-based programs by installing tracking devices. However, make sure that driving habits don’t create a risky profile to avoid rate hikes. Additionally, check that the final premium price is actually lower than comparable rates.

Drop Unnecessary Options

Comprehensive and collision insurance options are nice to have, but they’re not necessary for everyone. The former covers damage caused by animals, weather events or theft while the latter pays for car crashes, even if they involve objects other than vehicles. To decide if you need these options, use the following formula: Add the yearly premium amount to the deductible, and then subtract the result from the value of the insured vehicle. If the result is lower than the car’s value or just a few hundred dollars above, consider eliminating comprehensive and collision coverage. That’s because the insurance company will not pay out more than a vehicle is worth.

Consider a Higher Deductible

If you drive a vehicle that might benefit from comprehensive and collision coverage, consider raising the deductible to lower the overall premium cost. Since each insurance provider uses its own formula, compare quotes from each company by giving different deductible levels. For example, ask for quotes that use assorted deductible amounts, and compare them to competitive premiums.

Contemplate Usage-based Automobile Insurance

If you work from home, consider usage-based overage. This type of policy requires the installation of a tracking device in your vehicle, but it allows for low-mileage discounts. Some of these programs might offer rebates for safe driving routines as well. You can also opt for pay-per-mile coverage, which sets premiums according to base rates.

While all companies use the same factors to set insurance rates, their approaches differ widely. Quotes from major providers like Allstate, American Family, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, Travelers, and USAA can result in substantial annual savings. That’s why you should use these tips to get rates at least twice a year.

Best Price on a Car: Here’s What You Should Do

man looking inside a shiny vintage car  trying to think what best price on a car he can offer.

Negotiating the best price on a car must be dealt with on the first chance you have. The earlier you talked to the seller, the better price you will have by the end. But when it comes time to purchase a new vehicle, most drivers are searching for just one thing – a reliable car at an affordable price. The best way to accomplish this goal is to find the vehicle that you want and then negotiate with the dealership on the price. 

In order to successfully negotiate, there are some helpful tips that you should follow, such as:

Research

Before you ever begin your negotiation with the dealer, make sure that you have done your homework. Learn more about how they might negotiate with you and what the process will be like. You should also research the vehicle that you will be purchasing. Take a look online to see what the fair market value of the vehicle is; this will give you an idea of how much of a discount you can expect to receive.

Financing

Many dealerships will provide you with incentives and discounts if you choose to finance the purchase with them. In some circumstances, this can be a fantastic way to save money on the car. However, it is critical that you keep a close eye on the interest rates and fees that are associated with the deal. If their financing offerings aren’t up to par, it is almost always a good idea to use outside financing instead. You should speak to your bank or credit union ahead of time to find out what your rate would be.

Don’t Focus On The Monthly Payment

The salesperson will likely try to sell the vehicle to you using monthly payments. An additional $20 per month to your payment might not be a lot, but it can add up to $1,400 over a six-year loan. Try to steer the negotiation towards actual purchase prices and negotiate from there so you are not misled. Remember, you can always stand and walk out if the dealer is unwilling to talk on your terms.

Negotiating the purchase of any vehicle is a tricky and time-consuming process. If you live on the far side of the world, read our post about how much does it cost to ship a car to another state. It will also save you tons of money when you know how much you’ll be paying for it. And by following the tips contained in this article, you will soon find yourself in a new, reasonably-priced vehicle.

Four Ways to Get Top Dollar When Selling Your Car

A blue car that a blonde woman in a stripe shirt looking at selling her car.

Selling a car comes from so many reasons but whatever your reason for selling, you need to ensure that you make as much as possible from the sale. You can use strategies that attract buyers who are willing to pay the price you have listed. Additionally, if you have a buyer from out of the state, make sure to read more about our car shipping reviews post. You will know essential tips to save yourself from issues when transporting your car. Now, ff you are ready to sell your car, below are a few tips to ensure you get top dollar from your sale:

Calculate Your Car’s Value

Before attempting to sell your car, you should always take a few minutes to calculate its true value. Websites such as Autotrader, CarFax, and Kelley Blue Book will give you the information you need. All you need to do is enter your vehicle’s age, mileage, condition, and other information. Once you know how much your car is worth, you will be able to avoid being ripped off by an unscrupulous buyer.

Clean Your Car

Get your car professionally cleaned so it looks its best when buyers come around to view it. If it is in bad condition, hire a car detailer to help with buffing and waxing. Your detailer will give it a thorough clean of the exterior surfaces, including wheels and chassis. Next, they will clean the interior and upholstery using vinyl, hot water, and other gentle cleansers. Finally, they will wax your car’s exterior. When they are finished, your car will look brand new and will be ready to impress interested buyers.

Sell Your Car Privately

If you are trying to get as much cash as possible for your vehicle, you would be wise to consider selling it to a private party, as opposed to trading it in at your local car dealership. This sales method will allow you to deal directly with the interested buyer, making it easier to negotiate a higher price.

Take HD Photos

High-quality and high-definition photographs will attract buyers who are willing to spend a little bit more. If you cannot take the pictures yourself, consider hiring a professional photographer. Using high-quality pictures demonstrates to the buyer that you are willing to go the extra mile to showcase your products and make them more willing to pay the price you are asking for.

In Conclusion

Many car owners sell their cars for extremely low prices because they do not implement strategies that can help them get top dollar. However, by following a few easy tips to make your car more appealing, you can make more money from your sale. 

Are Car Lease Buyouts a Good Idea?

A woman signing her car lease buyout papers from a guy at the car shop. The car is behind her and ready for her to use.

Planning for a car lease buy-out may sound like a good idea. But take note that when finalizing a lease agreement, you will negotiate several different details with the salesperson. These details will include the upfront cost, the monthly payment, the lease length, and the predetermined lease-end buyout amount. The lease-end buyout is the amount you will need to pay to purchase the vehicle once your lease has finished – the residual value of the vehicle.

Do you have to wait until the end of the lease to buy the car?

The majority of leases will allow you to complete an early buyout of the vehicle. You do not have to wait until the end of your lease term to purchase the car. You need to review your lease documents to see if this is allowed under the terms and conditions of your lease.

Are lease-end or early car lease buyout a good idea?

Much like with any significant financial decision, many essential criteria must be analyzed to determine whether or not any buyout is a good move. In particular, you will want to look at: 

1. The true market value of the vehicle: The buyout amount and the vehicle’s true market value will not always match. This is because the residual value makes certain assumptions about depreciation, which is not an exact science. If the vehicle’s market value is higher than the amount you need to pay, you should consider completing the buyout. 

2. The vehicle’s performance: When it comes time to complete a buyout, you will most likely have been driving the vehicle for several months or years. As such, you will have good knowledge of the performance of the vehicle. If it has been reliable, it may be a good decision to consider buying it. If, however, you have been having ongoing trouble with the vehicle, you may want to consider looking at alternative options. 

3. Your finances: Your finances can change a lot over the course of a few years. If your situation changed and you may have an issue affording the buyout, you may want to look at more affordable options. The one thing you should also take note of is if the vehicle needs to be transported to another state. Check out our post on car transport reviews. By knowing things to avoid, you’ll be able to save your finances and your sanity at the same time.

Ultimately, only you will determine if any lease buyout is a good option for your situation. However, if everything lines up correctly, it can be a great way to purchase a reliable vehicle below market value.

Does Your Car’s Engine Need Attention? 7 Warning Signs of Trouble Ahead

man on the side of the road checking his car engine.

The car’s engine is the beating heart of your vehicle, and it’s essential to keep it in good shape. Minor issues that aren’t attended to can quickly grow, eventually leading to failure. As well as being a danger when driving, a failed engine is expensive to fix, especially with a catastrophic failure that damages other parts.

Our auto transport reviews post suggested that you must be your own inspector if you are transporting your car with a help of a company. It will save you a lot if you check both interior and exterior of the vehicle.

How do you know when your car’s engine needs a little attention? Here are seven signs to watch out for.

1) Lit Car Engine Light

If the ‘check engine light illuminates on your dash, book an inspection at your local repair shop without delay. The light switches on whenever power from the engine drops without a good reason. It might be a minor issue that’s easily fixed, but ignoring it could lead to serious problems, so get it checked out.

2) Sluggish Power or Complete Loss

If you have a full tank of fuel and the engine is turning over, but there’s no power output to get you moving, then there’s likely a mechanic problem in either the compression or combustion parts of the engine. Both can be sizable problems and can mean the engine needs a complete replacement. However, an experienced mechanic can quickly isolate the problem, and can make a quick and inexpensive fix.

3) Increasing Fuel Consumption

Do you need to fill the gas tank more often than you used to? Falling fuel efficiency can have many causes, but it’s often the first sign of engine problems. So have it investigated before the issue goes too far.

4) Unusual Car Engine Noises

If your car’s usual silky purr is spoiled by rattling, hissing, or popping noises, there’s likely some obstruction in the fuel flow. The problem could be minor but a mechanic will be able to put your mind at ease with a quick inspection.

5) Strange Smells

If you smell exhaust fumes while driving, it could signify that the engine is putting out more gases than the system can handle. A smell of gas probably indicates a problem with the fuel intake, while an odor of burnt oil usually means there’s a seal or gasket failure. But whatever the specific smell, it’s unlikely to be good news or a sign of perfect engine health, so don’t ignore it.

6) Frequent Stalls

Modern cars shouldn’t stall under normal driving conditions, especially with today’s advanced transmissions. There could be a simple blockage in the fuel line or something more serious if the car’s engine cuts out for no reason. However, stalling itself can cause damage, so schedule an inspection before things get any worse.

7) Continued Running

On the other hand, if the engine continues to run for a little while once the ignition is turned off, usually with a sputtering sound rather than a smooth one, then there’s likely a problem with the gas-air mixture. This problem is most common in performance vehicles but it’s a warning sign you shouldn’t ignore.

A complete and sudden engine failure can often be too expensive to fix. This is mostly found in an older car with aging parts and a lower overall value. If you spot any of these warning signs, get your car checked over as soon as you can to nip any problems.

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