DON’T DO THE DODGY
hether you’re buying your first car or hustling your fifth money-making special of the month, taking a seller’s word as gospel is a gamble at the best of times — and the same extends to buying components, too: wheels, suspension, motors, and boxes. There’s often some issue that you’re not going to be able to detect until you’ve handed over the cash and taken ownership.
Most of the time, we can rely on people being generally honest about what’s going on with a car, and you can spot things that are obviously amiss, such as finding that serious case of rod knock on the ‘mechanically sound’ daily-driver you’re viewing, as I recently did.
But there are always those cases when a seller omits certain issues that may not present themselves when test driving. Hey, maybe they got done over by the same trick and they want out — I get it — and it’s not a new phenomenon, but that doesn’t make it any less shithouse to be doing.
I make a point of being as accurate and honest as possible about any issues a car may have, telling a potential buyer what I know, and making sure they understand before they hand over those pesos. And, as I’ve recently gone through a couple of cars myself, it’s been handy for both parties to draft up a quick purchase/sale agreement that outlines any issues and expectations those involved may have; that way, if you buy a dunger and it comes back to bite you in the arse, at least your arse is covered.
Nothing kills the enjoyment of a car more than constantly needing to make repairs to the point that you’re spending more money than it will ever see at resale time.
So, what I’m saying is that, if you’re looking to buy a car, make sure you do the right checks, or have someone who knows what they’re looking at, go along with you if you aren’t confident doing so. Research the common issues — where the rust appears, what bushes let go, what faults that engine may be known for, etc. — ask the seller lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to be frank about things that seem off.
Likewise, if you’re selling a car, be straight up about what you’re selling and be realistic about the price, taking into account its condition. Most of us aren’t going to be scared of buying a car with a few minor issues if it’s priced to suit. However, everyone is going to be pissed if you sell them a turd coated in glittery lies.
Do your homework, and be honest.