One of the main dangers of buying a car from a personal seller is that you don’t know what may have happened to it. It could have been in a flood or a crash and you only have the owner’s say that it wasn’t.
Another danger is that this person could be a curbstoner. That is one who buys and sells cars for a profit without a license. If the car is to be found on the street instead of at his house, suspect this immediately. Find out if the title is in his name, because if he is a curbstoner, it probably won’t be. These people should be reported immediately as they are operating illegally. In some countries it is legal to sell three or four cars this way, but no more.
Another problem of buying a car from a personal seller is that there will usually be no warranty, so if you find a major fault just after you bought it, the money for repairs will come out of your own pocket. Always ask the seller if there has been any repairs done on the vehicle in recent months and if so, ask to see the receipt. This way you’ll know what has been done and what is still needed.
Ask the seller his reason for selling. Of course, he might lie to you and you won’t know, unless you are a good judge of character. It seems a sad thing to think that you can’t trust everyone, but there it is, and you don’t want to be out of pocket because you trusted someone who is a cheat or a crook.
One thing you can do to get true information about that used car is get the VIN – vehicle identification number – and then go online to CarFax.com and get the history of it. Computer technology is marvelous these days. You can get the complete history of a car and find out whether it has been crashed, flooded, rolled, or whatever. Better still, you can get a Safety and Reliability Report for that make and model if you order the unlimited report option. 1981 was when the US government decided to accept the VIN for standard vehicle tracking purposes. You can’t go wrong when you use this – it’s like a DNA for cars. It’s certainly worth the small fee charged for it could save you a great deal of money in the long run.