Did you know that almost 1 in every 5 used cars on road today have had their odometers altered? And that 1 in 20 used cars have been rebuilt by reassembling bits from a collection of salvaged vehicles? To minimize the risk of purchasing a bad used vehicle, you should follow the 3 simple steps mentioned below. But first, some general tips:
(i) Regardless of where you buy a second hand car, whether it's from a dealer or a private seller, and no matter what type of second hand car you choose, new model, old model, or a certified used vehicle, you as the buyer ought to find out the true condition of the car before purchase. Don't be fooled by a steam cleaned, nice looking car, as there can be a chance that it will end up costing you thousands of dollars in repairs after the sale.
(ii) Doesn't matter what the seller or dealer say about the used vehicle, at the end of the day it is your responsibility to find out the true condition of the vehicle before you make the final decision. Be mindful that any verbal statements made by the dealer or salesperson, about the condition of the used vehicle, are not enforceable in a court of law. Only paper documents are enforceable in the courts.
(iii) "Curbstoner" is a term that was first used to describe unlicensed hobbyists who sells by parking collections of used cars in vacant areas along the curb side off the road. In Hong Kong, curbstoners are the private used car dealers who pose their car advertisements as private sellers. They will sell the used vehicles from road sides or from their home. In most cases, curbstoners are usually willing to sell any used vehicles, including those with questionable histories, altered odometers, hidden mechanical faults, or even salvaged vehicles. The incentive is high profits. Curbstoners will sell used vehicles below the book value and tell the buyer about their badluck story and why they had to sell quickly. The buyer buys their story and was taken in by the lure of a low selling price.
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|Important Questions to ask
Ask the Seller
When you are purchasing a used vehicle from
a private seller, ask the following questions
before you take it for a test drive:
- In whose name is the car registered
- Are you the owner/authorized seller
of the car?
- How long have you owned the car?
- What is the mileage on the car?
- Why are you selling the car?
- Have there been any major repairs
done on the car?
- Has there been any accidents on the
- Are there any rust on the car?
- Does all the mechanical and electrical
Is the car available for a professional
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Ask the professional¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K¡K.HKMI
The previous questions are for the sellers to answer only; you should also try to get unbiased answers to the following questions in order to help you determine the true conditions of the vehicle:
A) How has the
vehicle been treated?
the vehicle driven sensibly or
was it misused/abused by its previous
owner? Was the vehicle given regular
maintenance service? Any premature
wear and tear problems will cost
you more in the future maintenance
and repair costs.
B) Is the vehicle in good working
Does the vehicle
have any existing problems or any problems
that hidden even to the current owner?
Has any components been tampered to hide
existing problems? Any of these existing
problems can potentially cost you thousands
of dollars to repair once you make the purchase.
C) Has the vehicle been involved
in any accidents?
what was the impact of the damage(s),
and how well were the repairs made because
any un-repaired damage or substandard repairs
can compromise the safety of the vehicle. Vehicles
with major previous accidents may have a higher
chance of chronic mechanical problems.
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| 1-2-3 Steps of Buying a Good Used
The following 1-2-3 steps will help you
find out the true answers to the above questions.
Step 1 - Test Drive the Car.
driving the vehicle will help you determine
any obvious problems and will help you get
rid of some "not so good" choices.
You should use this opportunity to check
- the vehicle doesn't blow out any smoke
when it starts up,
- the Air-condition blows cold air,
- the engine doesn't make any unusual
- the car doesn't get pulled to one
side or another when you apply the brakes,
- all the electrical accessories function
- that the car doesn't pull sideways
under normal driving condition.
Be mindful that just because the vehicle
drives well in a test drive DOES NOT mean
that it hasn't got any hidden problems. Remember
that you will be accountable for all the
repair costs after the purchase.
Step 2 - Negotiate the best deal.
may be able to find a rough estimate on the
price of the used vehicle by
- searching in websites,
- joining online discussion forums,
- asking your loan officers for pricing
information about the vehicle.
The estimated price from the above sources
will be based on the assumption that it is
a good condition vehicle with no repairs
required and no previous accident damages.
The actual negotiated price should be adjusted
for every existing problem items on the vehicle.
Any problem items should be deducted as a
repair cost amount from the orginal estimate.
Don't be thinking that because you negotiated
on the price you will be obliged to buy the
car right away. Only until you find out the
true condition of the car will you be able
to tell if the price is a good deal or not.
Again, remember that you will be accountable
for all the repair costs after the purchase.
Step 3 - Obtain a Comprehensive
and Unbiased Inspection.
are many types of pre-purchase inspections,
but only an independent inspection from an
experienced mechanical and structural/body
specialist is able to provide you a comprehensive
inspection. Hong Kong Motor Inspection's 250+
point mechanical, structural/body, and electrical
inspection will provide you with all the important
information that you need to make your final
purchase decision. Once the vehicle has been
inspected, the negotiated price should then
be re-negotiated based upon the findings from
the inspection report and the true condition
of the vehicle.
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