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Tips on buying a used car in a hot market

Vinnie’s Mr Fixit offers advice when looking to enter used car market

The laws of supply and demand have never been more evident than they are right now in the used car market. Challenges with the availability of new car and truck inventories as a result of parts shortages in the automotive industry have driven up the value of new vehicles along with the corresponding sale price.

Given the risks involved in buying used vehicles, it’s important to follow the advice of automotive experts when considering a used car purchase.

“You have to be really careful in a market like this,” suggests Vince Klimkosz, owner of the two locations of Vinnie’s Mr. Fix-it in Guelph. “Demand is high, prices are high, and there’s a lot of junk out there. You can easily get taken advantage of if you’re not careful with your purchase.”

There are some myths surrounding used car purchases, such as avoiding the purchase of any vehicle showing high kilometres. Klimkosz said that high kilometres aren’t always the best indicator of the mechanical condition of a vehicle.

“Obviously it depends on the type of driving that’s been done with the vehicle. If you find a car that’s under three years old and it’s got over 100,000 kilometres on it, chances are it’s likely seen a lot of highway driving. That sometimes isn’t a bad thing. It’s easier on the car than city driving. The car could also have been a fleet vehicle that was well-maintained.”

Klimkosz said consumers who are targeting older cars should be aware of what those low kilometres might imply when it comes to the car’s condition.

“Let’s say you’re looking at a 10-year-old car that only has 60,000 kilometres on it. That car’s been sitting a lot, it hasn’t seen a lot of driving. Sometimes even parking on the wrong surfaces can cause rust to form underneath. Buying low mileage vehicles can be equally risky.”

There are two primary choices for used vehicle purchasing – buying privately or buying from an automotive dealer or used car lot. Both choices have their pros and cons and there are a few things consumers should consider regardless of which choice they’re making according to Klimkosz.

“If you’re buying privately, it’s always nice to have some service records,” he said. “Make sure the interior is clean and the driver seat isn’t all worn which is an indicator of high use. Even simple things like looking up in the windshield to see if there’s a current oil change sticker. Check to see the break pedal isn’t worn down from excessive city driving. Under the hood should be fairly clean. Buying private you could get a better price, but on the other side of it, you could be buying something that needs a lot of work.”

Klimkosz said that purchasing from a dealership gives consumers the option of buying an extended warranty, adding “you still have to be careful of the fine print. The dealer is also going to have their mark up. You’re going to pay more but in the end you may get a better car.”

One thing that every person looking at purchasing a used vehicle should do is to get a Carfax report. The reports show if the vehicle has been in any accidents and often show some service records as well.

Ultimately, there’s one important piece of advice Klimkosz has for every consumer looking for a used car.

“Right now, because the market is flooded with overpriced vehicles, before you pull the trigger and buy something always get a second opinion on the car. Even if you can’t bring the car into a mechanic or auto shop, sometimes shop owners or mechanics will talk to consumers over the phone to give them advice whether to buy or not. A car is a very large investment these days and it’s a risky investment sometimes. You need to weigh all your options.”

For full automotive service and advice, visit Vinnie’s Mr. Fix-It online. Or drop by either of their two Guelph locations: 30 Hayes Avenue, or 41 Woodlawn Road West.