7 myths about buying a used car – What should you be aware of?

DriveramaOct 14. 2021

Is your dream car already on your wish list with its colour, engine and equipment, but your motivation to look for a needle in a haystack is zero? Who hasn’t experienced this situation? First of all, you read countless internet ads with vague wording, only to drive hundreds of kilometres to disappointing viewings with no “happy ending”. You lose your motivation to buy a used car just reading about it. 

That is why I have made it my mission to dispel the most common myths about used cars for you. Read on and you will find that buying a used car can actually be quite simple - especially with Driverama! 

Tips for buying a used car - Driverama

Myth number 1: A new car is better than a used car

Anyone who has ever bought a car is certain to have asked themselves the question: Used car or new car? A new car is really great, of course. But after you have fought your way through the seemingly endless list of impressive equipment options, the first thing you need after that dream configuration is an oxygen mask. The final purchase price literally takes your breath away. 

However, nothing is more unstable than the value retention of a new car. New cars, like computers, have the unpleasant property of above-average depreciation in the first few years. As soon as you drive the car out of the dealership as its proud new owner, you will already have lost quite a few euros of your hard-earned money.

The average depreciation of your car is an incredible 20% in the first year. The next few years will also not inspire you as this loss develops, because the rate inexorably heads towards a reliable level of 40% depreciation.

The good news is: depreciation goes hand in hand with a lower sales price.  In addition to this, you also save on lower registration fees and, as with a new car, you don’t have to worry about the MOT for the first two years. 

In addition to this, special equipment and additional highlights hardly affect the price when buying a used car. Here, you are spared that sensation of gasping for breath. 

We - at Driverama - help you enjoy your dream car to the full at a fair price.

Myth number 2: Used cars are more prone to problems

As strange as it may sound, it is not about the car, but primarily the previous owner and in particular the seller who wants to sell you the car.

Every professional used car seller will have performed an extensive check on the used car before it is offered for resale. Damage relevant to the roadworthiness of the car will have been repaired and important parts replaced.

Therefore, the question is not whether a used car is more susceptible to damage, but rather who or which company you want to buy this car from. In the rarest cases, the sale of the car is due to the fact that the previous owner was not happy with it.

I deal on a daily basis with car owners who are trading in their beloved vehicle due to the size of the car, the fact that they have welcomed a new addition to their family, they are moving house or have bought a new pet, among many other different reasons. 

So, make sure you get plenty of information about the place which you want to buy your car from and also do some additional research into the history of your vehicle.

Myth number 3: Used cars are not safe

I can also dispel this myth with a clear conscience.

The market is of course full of used cars which have seen better days. No question, the higher the mileage, the older the car is and the more previous owners it has had, the greater the worry that you might be buying a lemon.

As with the previous myth, the rule “Choose the right place to buy the car!” therefore also applies here. 

Every professional seller will thoroughly inspect the car before presenting it to you - at least that’s what I always do! 

Used car or new car 

It also holds true that: unless you are buying a vintage car which is decades old, the majority of all used cars have all of the safety features found in a modern car. This includes standard features such as side airbags and anti-lock brakes. These are of course retained when the car is resold and their functionality is thoroughly checked.

Myth number 4: Price negotiations are difficult

Some people love it, others hate it – negotiating the price. I am one of the latter. Fair prices [link] are quintessential for Driverama and this means that you can do without that unprofessional “haggling” with me. 

Nevertheless, there are countless car salesmen with whom you can test your price negotiation skills. I recommend that you compare prices with similar models in advance to get an overview of market prices. Of course, this is not all that easy, as every used car has its own individual history and characteristics. 

There are countless valuation portals on the internet and extracts from the Schwacke used car price listings. Depending on the equipment, age and mileage, the first prices do tend to vary here. 

Another tip is to make a list of reliable dealers who are offering exactly the car of your dreams. However, you should be more critical and cautious with private offers, as warranty services may be voided by a private sale.

Apart from this, the following also holds true: Always keep a cool head and try to keep a lid on your enthusiasm - also known as a poker face! 

The first price asked is almost never the final minimum price. Therefore, first offer 25% less than the first price which was asked. You think that’s rude? No, it isn’t. This gives you the necessary leeway for further negotiations. Don’t be afraid to state your idea about the price. You can then agree on a 10-15% discount with the dealer. You can often even get a set of winter tyres included in the deal. 

The fundamental rule is to take your time! The longer you talk to the dealer, the better the chance of getting a good price. But remember that most traders are trained to haggle, and are counting on it. 

However, if you are not an experienced haggler with great negotiating skills, pay me a quick visit and I will find the right deal for you. Fair & simple!

Myth number 5: It is better to buy used cars online

It does in principle hold true that the internet is definitely the first source of information you should consult, something which you have probably already done. Not only is the current average price of your dream car important, but also the list of dealers who have this used car on offer. You can make appointments by phone to ask a few questions about the car in advance.   

Nevertheless, nobody wants to buy a pig in a poke. A car, after all, is not a book. So, invest the time and drive to the dealership to get to know your potential dream car and your salesman in person. Also, take one or even more test drives before you decide to buy. I can help you with the test drive if you like!

Myth number 6: Used cars have no warranty and you have to put the money directly on the table

Every car dealer has to comply with certain legal requirements which they can only circumvent with a private purchase. This can happen to you in a so-called commission transaction. The dealer only has a used car on commission and it is sold by the previous owner as a private individual. However, this must be formulated in your sales contract. In the case of a private sale, all warranty claims can be forfeited and this could possibly lead to you finding yourself in an unpleasant situation. 

When you buy a used vehicle privately from a dealer or an entrepreneur, you have a legal right: the seller’s liability for material defects. The seller is liable for at least one year for all defects which the car exhibits at the time of handover. However, a liability exclusion clause is often included in the contract.

If you buy a relatively new used car, you can even benefit from the manufacturer’s warranty which is sometimes valid for up to 7 years. Reputable and reliable dealers often also offer you a one to two-year dealer warranty. This has a corresponding effect on the price.

Nowadays, it is also common for used cars to be paid off with leasing or financing. But you should look carefully here. In many cases, the private leasing of a used car makes no sense and is far too expensive. As a private individual, conventional financing would be the preferable option. Most dealers are aware of this and offer the services of various financing companies and banks.

Therefore, compare all of the offers thoroughly and give yourself enough time to make the right decision. 

Myth number 7: Used cars do not have a good resale value

This statement cannot under any circumstances be generalised! Relatively new used cars - for example cars which are up to one year old - are very easy to resell as long as they are well maintained and technically flawless. 

Therefore, it is up to the owner, i.e. you, how you look after your car. Inspections, maintenance and driving style are of course the decisive factors for a smooth sale and low depreciation. 

In addition to this, it does of course also depend on the model of car. There are certain perennial favourites for which demand rarely falls. For example, the popularity of hybrid or electric vehicles is on the increase as environmental awareness continues to grow and the cost of petrol continues to rise.

Conclusion

Buying a used car is a matter of trust and has certain rules which you should follow.

Nobody wants to buy a pig in a poke! An unrealistically good offer [link] on the internet could have nasty consequences for you. Dubious sellers, whether private or dealers, know why they are offering a used car at that price. The hidden list of defects can be quite long. From falsified mileage all the way through to above-average wear and tear due to bad driving habits on the part of the previous owner, all of these things could apply.

Therefore, I can only recommend that you choose the right seller who is willing to offer you transparent information about the vehicle’s history [link], the technical condition of the vehicle and a fair price. Then nothing will stand in the way of you buying your new dream car!

I hope that my tips on buying a used car have helped you when making your decision! Have a good trip, see you next time. 

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Germany HQ:

Driverama Germany GmbH

Maximilianstraße 13

80539 München

We are member of AURES Holdings