Car tip

4. Problem areas and so

Beside the weak points also the spare part prices (and not to forget: the spare part policy) give a lot of information!), the ease of repair and your own skills at screwing clues to future costs. Spare parts policy means: if a manufacturer does not allow the fabrication of aftermarket parts, then you are at the mercy of its spare parts prices. However, original parts are usually of higher quality anyway.

The mix of these factors determines future maintenance costs: There are cars where new suspension joints and suspension rubbers together cost little more than a hundred bucks, and any mediocre hobbyist can replace them. Here we think of the Volvo 740/940 for example. On other cars, the rubbers are not available individually, but only in conjunction with the control arms, and after the exchange, the suspension geometry must be readjusted. Then one to two thousand are due.

Another example: In some cars, the timing belt can be changed at the roadside with a tool kit, like the one you get as a gift on World Savings Day. For others, the workshop has to use special tools and thin plates to adjust the belt tension.

5. Read the advertisement

When browsing through advertisements, one notices all the nuances of the art of formulation, whereby Art is rather less common. As a prospective customer, please be a little lenient, because rarely are ads written by people who write a lot in everyday life, and honesty and seriousness count much more than the level of education. “To give away with a heavy heart” is a standard phrase, spelling mistakes or phrases tapped with a mallet do not make a car worse. “1A condition” is a nonsense, because new cars don’t have that anymore as soon as you put them into service, and it’s not bindingly defined anywhere either.

Unfriendly phrases (“Time thieves piss off!”) on the other hand already allow some conclusions about the character of the seller, you then have to decide for yourself whether you like to buy a car from someone unsympathetic. Who has tried both, knows: no comparison! One notices the difference already during the contact initiation by mail (or by telephone, even if this is rather unthinkable with young people), even more so during the inspection.

6. Used car inspection – by yourself or at ARBo or oAMTC

Here comes one of the most important sentences of a purchase advice, and all know it: Never (NEVER!) buy a car only after photos and the words of the previous owners, except perhaps spare part donors around a few hundred dollars. Cars can look on photos like young used ones, and the floor group nevertheless pizza large sheet metal parts are missing, because rusted away. Competent evaluation of a car is to be expected where the yearly inspection takes place, i.e. in garages and at the mobility clubs, which used to be known as motorists’ clubs. So at the ARBo and at the oAMTC, which offer this service for members. It pays off to join the program if only a small defect is discovered, and even more so if a major flaw is uncovered that is hidden from the layman.

This may well have been unknown to the previous owners. Very few people have ever seen their car from underneath, and in all honesty they don’t know much more than what was in the last pickle report.

Of course, a conscientious inspection takes time, and you should definitely take that time. The old brokers’ joke (“I still have twelve interested parties, you should decide quickly!”) can also be found when buying a car. When in doubt smile over.

And in any case, do a professional emissions test, it tells you a lot about the condition of the engine and its periphery.

A little guide, if you like to judge the condition of a car by yourself: Always (ALWAYS!) and look for rust, bring your work clothes or a disposable work suit from the hardware store and a flashlight. What is gritted on the roads in winter in Austria is the pitbull among the de-icing agents, slightly older cars show rust damage again as in the 70s.

Below and at the front and rear sheet metal can also be searched well for badly repaired accident damages, one recognizes them at the unmotivatedly wavy sheet metal. A coating thickness gauge for the paint is ideal, there are also very simple and cheap versions based on magnets – which of course do not work on aluminum and plastic bodies. Every repainted area has its reason.

Tires, brake discs and many equipment details (power windows, air conditioning, …) are easy to check. If you want to find out if the mileage mentioned in the ad is true, you can find clues in the wear and tear of the pedal rubbers, but also of the seats, the carpets and the steering wheel.

10 really useful tips for buying a used car

7. Test drive

The driving impression should of course (caution, platitude!) may be just as satisfactory as expected – how a car type drives, if everything fits technically, is best learned by comparison, i.e. after viewing several offers. If the salesman talks without interruption or turns the radio louder, then he wants to cheat himself possibly over a noise, which cannot be drowned at the latest with the next Pickerl more. The ears of the inspector are objective.

By the way, it is not self-evident that you are allowed to drive the car as a prospective buyer. If one causes an accident, then the vehicle owner is liable with its insurance. So the seller. It is said to have already happened that accident-causing interested parties simply run away and disappear without a trace.

8. Dealer or private?

Of course, it’s easier to test drive a car at a dealer, and the network of rules is tighter there: dealers are obligated to provide a warranty, private sellers are not. But used cars are often a bit more expensive at dealers, because you still have to pay the value-added tax, and there are also some salaries involved.

With private sellers, you can hope for the sympathy bonus: If someone really sells his car “with a heavy heart”, then preferably to someone where he feels it is in good hands. It is said that there were private sellers who bargained themselves down to give the desired buyer his chance.

However, even the expertise of the professional dealers does not protect against possible fantasy prices, as one has to notice again and again during the search for a car.

9. Price negotiations

How much a used car is worth can be seen, for example, in the new and used car price list. Of course, there is room for interpretation, and negotiating the price is part of the Austrian cultural heritage. There are even people who buy primarily a price and only secondarily a car. They are the ones who spend half an hour talking about the last few euros of their negotiation success before they reveal a few details about the car to their friends.

Sellers also expect price negotiations, but they may be structured in such a way that both sides can, to put it bluntly, save face. Ten to 20 percent price reduction should work out, if you present it politely. Unless “fixed price” was explicitly stated in the advertisement.

The often practiced tactic of making the car look rather unqualifiedly bad during the inspection and explaining to the salesperson that they should be happy if you take the crate for half the price rarely leads to success. More purposeful is to praise the car’s plus points, mention a few real flaws you’ve found, and then politely make a serious counter-proposal. All this during the visit, not before.

Quite bad: To begin the first contact with the question of the last price.

More on the subject of used cars

10. Contract of sale

A handshake is legally binding, but difficult to prove afterwards – as soon as problems arise, the memory of some business partners fades like the traction of a wide tire on black ice.

So when you buy a car, you need a contract, such as the one you can download directly from us as a PDF file. On top of that, you need him to register a car.

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