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Don’t Get RIPPED OFF Buying a Used Car

May 30, 2021
- So, you're thinking about getting a project car. Well, that's great news. But how do you do it? How do you actually do it? Where are you looking? How do you find one? Once you find one, what do you do? Just go to some guy's house and buy it? Yes, more or less. Today we are going to analyze that entire process. We'll show you how to find the right car, how to inspect and test drive it, we'll show you how to negotiate, and how to actually buy a project car. Kind of like a great buyer's guide. Come on. (trap beat) Hey guys, this episode was made possible by Mobil 1.
don t get ripped off buying a used car
Mobil 1 advanced synthetic motor oils are designed to keep important engine parts in excellent condition for 250,000 miles. But I'll tell you more about that later in the episode. Obviously I think you should get a Miata, but you don't have to. You can get whatever you want. But listen, especially if this is your first project car, you really want to get something that runs smoothly. So I'll give you some criteria for what I think makes a good first car project. Much of this is based on the production numbers of a given car. If a car is uncommon or rare, you won't find many of them and you won't find as many parts for it.
don t get ripped off buying a used car

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don t get ripped off buying a used car...

When it comes to car


, I currently use Facebook Marketplace. I really like Craig's List, but it seems like no one posts there much anymore and everyone is on Facebook, so there's a lot of traffic. Alright, let's find some examples. Let's check out a few different cars to see if they're a good project. First, let's check some for old Mr. Pumphrey. Check a Mark I rabbit. - Not good. - (laughs) It's not good. A couple of examples. The price is not that bad. They are definitely all projects. There are only about three for sale in all of Southern California right now.
don t get ripped off buying a used car
Okay, it's not terrible. Let's see what's available for parts. There are actually still more places making parts for these than I thought. Not bad. It's not the worst option for a project car, but it's not the best either. There just aren't that many, you'll be hard-pressed to find one. But they are still out there. Next, let's look at something I want that I know is a bad idea. How about an old Jaguar XJ? I love these. Oh, here's an XJ 12 for $4,500. That's the V12. It's a 1990 model. They didn't make many of these and there's only one for sale around here.
don t get ripped off buying a used car
So this is a perfect example of a terrible project car. While it looks cool and attractive, it is a bad idea. There is no after sales support, there is no community around these, they didn't make enough of them. So stay away from those rigid things. Now let's look for a Miata. Less than $4,500. So many results. I mean, there are a million examples. Let's check the parts. I bet I know what we'll find. Oh, a million places everywhere. Because they made a million Miatas and everyone is working on them. It turns out that the Miata is a great choice for a project car.
Wow. So another thing you should check when you're checking out forums and Facebook groups and all that is that you should check out the buyer's guides for specific vehicles. Typically, a forum will have a specific guide to give you an idea of ​​what to look for when looking at a specific car. Some cars will have very common problems that you should be aware of. So before you look at anything, look for a specific buyer's guide that will give you some knowledge. So once you find something you like, has a great community, great parts availability, and doesn't appear to be being sold by a scammer, it's time to ask.
So here's a quick list of things you should make sure to ask from the beginning. Take out a pen, write this down and take some notes. You want to ask about the title. Is it clean, in hand and ready to sign? What do I mean by a clean title? I mean not rescued or rebuilt. Salvaged or rebuilt title means that at some point during the life of a car the insurance company decided to total it. And that can happen for a variety of reasons, whether the car was in an accident and totaled, or it was in a flood, which is always a big no.
Or sometimes maybe he was mugged, or some robbery was afoot. So a recovered title in itself is not a hard no. You need to do some research, but in my opinion, it's best to use a clean title. Anyway, back to things to ask the seller. If you live in a state that requires the title to be notarized, do they have it notarized? Ask for service records. Does the seller have any maintenance history or service records? Do you know how this car has been treated? Has the car been contaminated? If you live somewhere where emissions or pollution need to be controlled, has this been done?
Another big issue, especially if you're looking for a car that has specific options or a certain addition, you want to get the vin and at least run it through a vin decoder so you can see what the car was really like at the factory when it was built. A vin decoder is something you can find online for any car you are looking for. Simply plug in the VIN and you'll get a complete list of the car's complete build spec sheet when it was manufactured. Super useful. Then you can go a step further if you want and you can take the vin and get a Carfax report, which costs $40 but can be worth a lot of its weight in gold.
It gives you a lot of very pertinent information that you may find useful when you are thinking about


a car. And another thing to think about, which I think a lot of people do think about, is mileage. Higher miles aren't necessarily a bad thing. It's not always the best way to evaluate the condition of a car. Some cars with more miles can be very well maintained and very healthy. On the other hand, there are also cars with low kilometers that have been treated very poorly and that you do not want to buy. So the number on the board isn't the end all be all.
It is necessary to think about how he has been treated and cared for throughout his life. Anyway, if you've found a car you're excited about, talked to the owner, asked these questions, and everything is still working, it's time to go see it. (relaxed pace) So it's time to talk to the owner and go check it out. But it's not always the best idea to just go to a stranger's house, I admit. That's why many people like to meet and check a car in public places, like a Harbor Freight parking lot, a gas station, or even a police station.
Many police stations will even have a designated area for that sort of thing where you can conduct Craig's List transactions. And that's a very good way to avoid getting murdered. All right, we'll assume that you removed the basic things like title, maintenance, smog, and all that kind of stuff. Now is the time to inspect the car. And one big thing you'll want to do while inspecting the car is accumulate bargain chips. And what I mean by loose change is things that the car needs. Even if they are things you don't necessarily care about. Or things you do.
But in order to negotiate, you need to accumulate all the things that are wrong with the car and make it look as bad as possible so that you can get the best price possible. With all that said, it's time to really get into the inspection and we'll start with the exterior. First of all, obviously, just walk around the car. Give it a good look. Make sure there are no dents. Make sure the body is in perfect shape like this. How is the paint? What kind of condition is it in? Do you even care? It's also time to check your tires, see how much tread they have left, see if they are starting to rot or crack or if they look very old.
While you're on the tires, check the brakes. Take a look at the rotors, see if they look pretty flat or if they have deep grooves and look very worn. If you can, keep an eye on the brake pads as well, and sometimes a flashlight can help. But you want to see how much meat is left on the pad. If they are nice and thick, great. If not, it's probably time to replace them. Check all the lights, turn on the headlights, hazard lights, taillights. Whatever the car has, you need to make sure it works. Then open the trunk and see if all the interior parts are there.
Check the spare tire. And if the car ever came with a tool kit, see if it's there. It's also a good time, if it's a convertible, to make sure the top goes up and down. You'll want to look for holes like that. And now it's time to stick your head under the car to make sure it's not covered in rust. Check the brake lines and fuel lines, make sure they are in good condition. Look at all the suspension bushings, make sure they are not falling apart. Look for drips and leaks. This thing has a lot of moisture in the oil pan.
That's another bargaining chip. Alright, that pretty much covers the outside. Now it's time to go inside. Alright, once you get in the car, the first thing you should do is (inhale sharply) take a deep breath. How does it smell? Does it smell like mold and mildew? Are there signs of water damage or giant, big, gross stains? - There is? (laughs) - The overall cleanliness of a car's interior is often a pretty good indicator of how whoever you're buying it from has treated it. What kind of shape is the fabric or leather? Are the seats destroyed or not?
Is there a radio? If there is, does it work? Are the speakers blown? How it sounds? Press every button in the car. Make sure the heat is running or the air conditioning is running, if equipped. And check the board. Are there any lights on on the dashboard that shouldn't be on? If so, it's a good idea to scan them because it may not be a big deal. It could be a great bargaining chip. Alright, that pretty much covers the interior, so now it's time for the fun stuff. Let's raise the hood. (synth music) Alright, here in the engine bay, take a look around.
How does it look, how does it make you feel? Is the overall condition pretty good, pretty clean, or really disgusting? Are there a lot of flanges and a lot of evidence of some shoddy repairs or modifications done by previous owners? If so, that's kind of a red flag. It's good to get things that are relatively in stock. It's a good idea to check the oil. Now listen, you'll want to change the oil in your new project car as soon as possible, but you need to check what's currently in there and make sure there aren't any shiny bits of metal or rough edges.
Because that doesn't bode well for the health of the engine. Also check the coolant. Check the level, make sure there is no oil floating in it. And check all your hoses and all the tires under the hood. All of that is prone to becoming brittle over time and breaking, which is bad. You should check your belts for general wear and health. Then you'll also want to ask the seller about the timing belt. And if he says, "Hey," it's probably time to replace it. Alright, if everything is fine in the engine bay and nothing looks like it's about to fall apart, it's time to take the test drive.
Does it start like this or does the battery sound weak (make weak acceleration noises)? Get it going. Are there squeaks or strange noises? Should we force it? Paddle through all the gears. How's it going? No problem, great. Alright, first gear, start releasing the clutch and see how it feels. Nice and tight, no strange noises or strange vibrations. Sweet. Now is a good time to test the brakes. They work, yes? Well ok. So now let's go about 25 miles per hour on a nice flat road. And we will be attentive to any vibrations, strange noises, rattles or knocks.
Anything that seems out of place. So go ahead and calmly. And let's leave the ruffles. Let's see if it pulls to one side or the other. If so, you may just need an alignment or some new suspension parts. Do you hear any strange noises coming from the transmission or engine now that the RPM has gone up a bit? What about the rear differential? Do you hear any metallic noise? Raise and lower the accelerator a little. I'm sorry, Eddie. Does it make any strange noises when you do that? How do you feel? Does the throttle feel like it's hesitant or like it's actually sticking to the throttle body?
Now let's go a little faster. Let's get to highway speeds. You get to about 60 miles per hour and you feel the same vibrations, you feel any rattles or strange noises coming from the cabin. Especially through the steering wheel, the petals and the seat. Your butt is a very good indicator of how the car is doing. Move forward and back up a bit, do some switchbacks, find some corners, test the suspension. Do you have any noise? Do you feel something out of place? It's a really good idea to try to get over some bumps so you can really test the suspension and see how it acts when you hit the bumps.
If you have worn end links, control arms, or bushings, tapping will fix those things and you'll actually be able to hear some strange noises. So take a look at the gauges after you've driven forone minute. Does everything seem good? Is the tack working? Does the speedometer work? Is the coolant temperature good? Are you overheating? Especially in Miatas, that's a pretty common problem: overheating. And it's basically a death certificate. So make sure the thing doesn't overheat. This has an oil pressure gauge. Make sure it has oil pressure. Listen, I know I just said a lot of things, a lot of things to pay attention to and it's probably more than you'll be able to remember.
I get it, I'm having a hard time remembering everything I just said. So I was thinking about the future. I made them a checklist in the description so you can take it with you or just have it on your phone every time you go to look at a


car. Take the checklist with you and just check the boxes, honey. - We do it because we love you. - We do it because we love you, that's right. You might think you're done at this point, but no, no, you're not. We have many things left to cover. (funky beat) Now this is going to be case by case and not every seller is going to want to negotiate with you what their damn right is.
But of course, you'll want to buy your project car as cheaply as possible so that you have as much money as possible left over for modifications. So now it's time to take out all those bargaining chips we've been talking about and get as much money out of them as possible. So go over all the things that need to be fixed and try to lower the price. It's also a good idea to be prepared to take the thing off of them right then and there. I always show up with cash because some sellers just want to get the crap out of their hair and you can be the person to get it out of their hair.
So I usually try to get around 20% off and usually set around 10% off. This Miata was listed at $2,900 and I took it for 25. Now I think that's pretty good given that it's a two-seat roadster that runs and drives with no real problems. I think that's pretty amazing. Alright, now that you've set a price, what's next? How can you make it officially, technically and legally yours? Well, I'll tell you. So one of the first things you need to do is what's called a bill of sale. Some states require it, some don't, and to be honest, even the states that do require it, I've never been asked to do it.
But it's so easy to make, you might as well do it. There are basically three places where you can get a bill of sale. You can check your state's DMV or you can write one yourself simply by hand. Or I made one for you, the Donut bill of sale, you can download it from the description below. The next step is the transfer of the title. This is probably the most important part. The title is actually the document that officially assigns ownership of a vehicle. Therefore, you must put the title in your name. Now that you have the title figured out, what's next?
You need to secure it. So call your insurance company or go on your app or whatever, and make sure you have it insured. Because we can't have uninsured drivers out there. So secure it and take it home, very easy. It is now insured but not yet registered for you. Then what do you do? Can you drive it without being registered? A lot of states just require that you have it insured and have a bill of sale and can prove that you basically just bought it and that's enough for them. In some states that's not okay, but in those cases you can usually buy a permit that will allow you to drive a car for a few days without basically being registered for exactly this.
Congratulations, you just bought your own project car. You're done? No, you are not. It's time for the most important part of all. You have to be flexible with everyone and put your new project car on Instagram. (upbeat music) No, but really, this is your kind of introduction to your new community. You have to take some photos of your car, upload them to Instagram and say hello to your new family. If you want to get better at taking photos of your car to post on Instagram, check out this episode of Wheelhouse that Nolan did with Larry Chen and John Jack Cirone, my roommate.
So you have a project car, you took it home and posted it on your Instagram. I am so proud of you. But what's next? And now that? Is it time to modify? Not quite. Often overlooked, but very important: it's time to do some maintenance. So we are going to replace all the belts, all the filters and all the fluids in this little Miata. Like the most important fluid of all, motor oil. When you change the oil in any car, whether it's a project or daily driver, it's important to use a high-quality motor oil. And that is why we have chosen Mobil 1 to sponsor this episode.
Mobil 1 advanced synthetic motor oils are designed to keep important engine parts in excellent condition for 250,000 miles. Compared to conventional oils, Mobil 1 motor oils offer exceptional performance and long-lasting protection. Mobil 1 synthetic oils are specially formulated by a dedicated team of scientists and engineers. Each bottle of Mobil 1 motor oil contains up to 20,000 hours of laboratory and field testing and 500,000 miles of road and track testing. So guys, visit the Auto Zone nearest you or click the link in the description below to find the high-quality Mobil 1 synthetic oil that's right for you. Now seriously, if you have a car, you're going to need an oil change.
So you could also support the sponsors who help us make these videos, because without them we couldn't do it. Thanks for watching.

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