DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! When you set out to buy used cars, you should approach it the same way you would an open lion enclosure at your local zoo – with a healthy level of caution, mixed with a small dose of curiosity. While your initial instinct might have you running for your life, the naturally occurring curiosity embedded within your DNA will urge you to move forward in your exploration. As you tiptoe your way towards the lion’s den, it is important to know what’s in store. Hopefully, a once in a lifetime chance to see a sleeping carnivore up close, without getting eaten alive. If you are so brave as to approach this incredibly dangerous situation without a sliver of caution, then be prepared for the consequences.
Used Cars, Loose Lions…Tomatoes, Toma-tas
I will be the first to admit to the ridiculousness of comparing a lion encounter with buying a used car, but there is merit to this seemingly insane juxtaposition. On the one hand, walking into the den of a lion is likely to carry with it fatal consequences, while the worst thing that will happen if you buy a used car from a bad dealership involves losing a ton of money. Neither of these outcomes is ideal, although I would venture to guess that most of you would happily lose thousands of dollars, rather than your own life.
Buying a used car is a great way to save money, and hopefully get into a car you would not otherwise be able to afford. Unfortunately, the Federal Trade Commission received over 90,000 complaints last year from disgruntled used car buyers throughout the United States. The safest way to buy your next used car without having to brave a wild animal encounter is to seek out certified dealerships, rather than roadside car lots and private sellers.
Seeking out a reputable place to obtain your next new-to-you car, is the best defense against scammers, liars, and thieves. Be sure to always ask for a history report on a used vehicle, to make sure it wasn’t involved in any sort of Armageddon-type weather phenomena, or used as an escape vehicle for a notorious bank robber. Even better than a trusted, in-person dealership, is to find a certified web-based dealer. Not only will that protect your hard-earned money, but it will also open up your options to a much wider base. Rather than choose a used car from a few measly rows of pathetic vehicles, you will have thousands of options from across the nation.
If you prefer to pick your apples at the end of the season, and sift through a bunch of duds in hopes of finding a shiny red globe free of a residential worm – then by all means, snatch up that used car listed at an unbelievable price from the roadside lot that more closely resembles a circus. Be sure to let us know how that turns out for you, but don’t be surprised when we offer up a hearty dose of, “I told ya so,” rather than a heartwarming bowl of sympathy.
Don’t be stuck blowing up balloons for your own pity party, make the right buying decision now, before it’s too late.