Buying a diamond in the rough
Let’s say that you’ve just been in an accident. Thankfully, you walked away from it without a scratch. Your car wasn’t so lucky. You’d dropped from full coverage down to liability only a while back because the car was getting old and you didn’t think you could justify the higher premium. Of course, with your luck, the other driver is uninsured, your car’s been totaled, and a new car just isn’t in your budget right now.
Don’t panic. Decent transportation is easier to come by than you might think. If you’re like most people, what you need is something solid and dependable. If you’re willing to turn a few wrenches, you can find something that meets your needs without breaking the bank. Your best bet is to try and find a car through a private party sale.
What to look for? If you have a preferred make and model you’re comfortable with, then by all means start looking for it. However, make sure that you’re willing and able to work on it yourself. Ideally, you’re going to want to look for a car that fits within your general budget. I was always told that the best new cars make the best used cars. Now’s the time to put that theory to the test. If you don’t have a particular make and model in mind, then start looking for a car with a known track record for overall reliability. To get the best deal, try to find a car that needs a bit of work, and make sure the price you pay reflects the work needed.
Now, I don’t advise going out and buying a car that’s on its last legs (or wheels, for that matter). There are no bargains to be had with respect to cars that need a total rebuild. Look for is a car that ‘s been maintained fairly well its whole life but is in need of some immediate, but not-too-serious work. Avoid cars that need major engine work, such as a head gasket, or have thrown a rod through the block. Similarly, you’ll want to stay away from cars that are in need of a transmission rebuild.
The way to get a bargain is to find a car that needs minor repairs, such as new brake pads and rotors, or basic tune-up items, such as spark plugs and filters. Whatever it is, you’ll want a car with a minor problem you can live with, or can fix easily. From here,
Once you’ve made that deal, get the car home, make the repairs, get back out on the road, and enjoy your new budget transportation.