Having owned his own car dealership, Fayez Farah is an experienced professional. He has an extensive background in buying, trading, and selling new and used cars. Therefore, he is probably the most knowledgeable person to ask about which warning signs we need to be on the lookout for when buying a used vehicle. You want the car to be safe, and you want the report to the seller’s description. There are several sites you can go to get this information, but I recommend CarFax if the dealership doesn’t automatically provide this. There is a fee, but it is totally worth it.
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The first thing you’ll need is the vehicles’ vin number. Fayez Farah emphasizes, “This is probably the most consequential part about buying a car. You need to see how many owners the car has had, the fewer the better. You also need to know if the car was ever in an accident.”
Fayez Farah claims, “This information should be available to you in the seller’s description.”
You should be able to see the mileage and the name on the title.
So, how are these reports obtained? Fayez Farah answers, “The information comes from the DMV, insurance providers, collision repair shops, and law enforcement agencies. If you see that the car has previously been in a wreck, I would pass on it. Especially, If the report says the frame of the car was ever damaged, pass.” He continues, “I would also avoid cars that were in any kind of weather related incidents where the vehicle was damaged. You can also see whether or not it’s a salvaged title, which means the car was in an accident and was deemed a total loss.”Fayez Farah explains, “The report should also provide you with the recorded mileage. If the car’s mileage reads lower than the mileage on the report, then you know something is wrong. This is referred to as rolling back the odometer and is actually illegal.”
So, how are these websites able to collect this kind of data? Fayez Farah answers, “ This information comes from the DMV, insurance providers, collision repair shops, and law enforcement agencies.” Fayez Farah continues,”I would not recommend buying a car that has been in a wreck, unless you have a good understanding of cars and know how to negotiate.” However, if the frame of the car was ever damaged, I wouldn’t invest in it.” He continues, “ I would also pass on any vehicles that have been involved in any floods, fires, or anything like that.” Make sure the title is not a salvaged title, meaning the car was in an accident, deemed a total loss, but then later repaired. That means there were significant damages to the vehicle.
Fayez Farah states, “The report can also provide you with information as to when and how often the vehicle was serviced. If the report doesn’t give you that information, and the owner or dealership cannot provide documentation, I would take it to the mechanic or pass on it.” He continues, “If the car has ever been recalled, you’ll want to make sure that the repairs were made.” Fayez Farah emphasizes, “You can also see if the vehicle was ever stolen. If so, make sure you check the dates and that the car was declared found.”
No matter what, you should always have your mechanic inspect the car before making a final decision. Fayez Farah explains, “The report won’t provide you with all the information you need about the mechanics of the car itself. Your mechanic can tell you if you’ll need to replace parts sooner than expected. No matter what, you need to make sure the car has a current up to date inspection sticker.”
Fayez Farah restates, “ In order to successfully avoid buying a lemon, you will need the vin number, you’ll read the report thoroughly, and no matter what, take the vehicle to get inspected by a mechanic you trust.” He continues, “ You don’t want to be stuck paying for parts and labor unexpectedly. Don’t waste your time or money. It’s better to take some time and do the appropriate research. Otherwise, you could end up with a car that is unsafe and too expensive to maintain.
Fred (Fayez) Farah is the owner of North Star Motors, an independent car dealer in Houston, Texas and Okley Construction.