Buying a new-to-you vehicle is a significant purchase, and the process is often overwhelming. This is especially true if you are buying your dream which doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. In order to alleviate some of that anxiety, use technology-driven solutions to find out any serious hidden damage or issues in the used car that holds your interest.
Reach out for communities
In this day and age, a good place to start research about a particular vehicle or model is social media. Almost any car model has an owner’s community or a club on Facebook or Reddit. Once you know a model you are going to buy – join any group and ask pieces of advice about a future purchase. Keen owners will know which model years or editions had particular flaws and how to identify them when buying this car. Learn about common issues related to that specific model. Once you’re armed with knowledge, you can ask the seller questions.
Also, there’s a chance that one of the members had already seen or test driven that very car that you’re considering to buy. Don’t hesitate, ask around or even share a link of the car advertisement. Most of the time group members are keen to help out and share their own experience. If you decide to buy this model, the community comes in handy when you’re having some minor issues or searching for spare parts or a trustful mechanic.
Show me your secrets
Even small dents and scratches are easy to notice in daylight. They’re also considerably easy and cheap to fix and have no impact on the vehicle’s driving dynamics. That’s not the case with mechanical or electrical issues. For a non-professional, these are hard to notice and can result in complete vehicle failure if ignored.
Modern cars will inform about these issues via an engine check light or an error notification on a dashboard. But let’s face it – the crooked seller can easily hide the first signs by erasing the codes. Fight fire with fire and check the car you want to buy with an OBD (Onboard Diagnostics) scan tool. They function by simply inserting a universal plug into the OBD-II diagnostic connector in a vehicle. Once it was a technology that only professionals were using. Today, OBD dongles have user-friendly apps and connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth.
The OBD tool can show whether the engine, transmission, airbag, brakes, electric systems, and other components are in order. After a few seconds, you’ll know which parts have issues and if they are serious. Even if the owner has deleted the errors and they’re no longer shown on a dashboard, they’re still on the system’s memory, and the OBD dongle can detect that. However, if you don’t find any major issues and buy a vehicle, the OBD device will eventually come in handy. It can precisely tell what is wrong with any component before anything serious happens.
Down the Memory Lane
Every single car has its unique identification number known as VIN. It is located on the car’s body and written in the documents. Because of digital technologies, the buyer can use it to see if the vehicle was ever wrecked, stolen, flood-damaged, or recalled. Various online VIN decoders offer this service.
The problem is that sometimes this data can be faked, especially when resellers claim they can give you the already generated car report. The solution here is the big buzzword – the blockchain. The latest technology decentralizes data, and it’s impossible to fake or change it in any other way.
By definition, the blockchain-based carVertical vehicle history reports should be the most trustworthy in the industry. All you have to do is enter a car VIN on the site and buy a full-scale report.
Besides basic facts (engine power, fuel or transmission type, etc.), reports provide more specific and useful data. This includes authentic mileage and archive photos at different times, if the vehicle had any damages, if it has been stolen, and so on. When you have various data from different dates, you can compare them and spot mileage fraud, concealed accidents, or other discrepancies in the seller’s story.
Knowing all the information, you can ask the seller more specific questions, negotiate the price, or decide to search for another vehicle. Most advanced digital tools are always at hand in the quest for your dream car.
Arnoldas Vasiliauskas serves currently as the Chief Innovation and Product Officer at carVertical. Arnoldas’ automotive background dates back to 2005 – previously employed as an executive at Mitsubishi-Motors, Citroen and Honda brands, Arnoldas is the latest addition to carVertical’s management board. As a CIPO, he is responsible for the new and existing products, innovations and partner integrations. Arnoldas also plays an important role in shaping the future strategy of carVertical, where the focus is set on the data and technology innovation. Reach him at LinkedIn.
Photo: Your Best Digs – Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)