When you speak with Martha Davis she will be completely candid – there is no topic she will not honestly address. She also knows what it’s like to be a female in the automotive world because she has been one for over 30 years! Her experience and expertise is chronicled on Velocity Network’s show The Car Sharks. On their show Davis and her family buy cars, fix them up, and sell them at their Dallas car lot, MSM Automotive Service and Sales.
Through the years, Martha’s biggest passion has been to help women navigate the shark-infested waters of car buying. Recently she shared a few of her biggest tips with @AutoGoddess1:
- Educate yourself before you buy a car, it’s too late after the fact there are no exchanges or refunds once that name is on the dotted line! Especially used cars, they are sold “”as is” in every state.
- Doing your homework means saving yourself from a potential nightmare. Part of educating yourself is being realistic about what your money can buy.
- Buy the most well taken care of car, not the newest model and lowest miles, that car may not be the best car for the amount of money you have to spend. Once you have decided on a model, start your research online to get comparable prices. Craigslist and NADA.com are great site’s to use. Also call your bank and get a loan value on the particular model you prefer. Keep in mind you have to be flexible in consideration of the shape of the car. I add an extra $500.00 if all the books and records are with the car, also if it is a one-owner.
- Know who you are buying from! Very important. It’s just as important to know what happens after you buy the car as before. Is the name on the title the person you are buying from? If not find out why because it is illegal for a dealer to sell off-premises in any state. Check the BBB for any complaints. Do not meet someone at a convenience store and expect good luck. A dealer is bound by rules and regulations, but not all dealers are created equally. DO RESEARCH! Do not assume a New Car Store has warranties on their used cars, they are sold also “as is”.
- If buying from an individual meet at the tax office and be sure the title is transferable then pay for the car.
- Do not buy on impulse. There are plenty of cars out there. Don’t be in a hurry. If need-be rent a car for a few weeks, so that you are not in a panic mode.
- Get a second opinion, (not from a boyfriend or neighbor who thinks they know a little something about cars). Get a full mechanic to appraise the condition. If the seller won’t let you get a second opinion, walk away, even if its a New Car Store. Be realistic, your main concerns are engine, transmission, suspension, a/c and any leaks. Not whether it needs a serpentine belt or might need tires in a month because a used car is not going to be void of some upkeep. Certainly you want to know some of that and it’s a negotiating tool. But, if you have a car with great main components then don’t turn it down for minor repairs that you can do little by little.
- Ask as many questions as possible, but also rely on some of your gut instinct. If a car drives great to you still have it looked at by a mechanic. Ask the mechanic what percent of brakes are left.
- There are many new laws on salvaged, reconditioned, and flood cars. Dealers have to disclose those facts as well as mileage discrepancies. If they don’t, then you have recourse with the state. Unlike individuals, you can take the VIN number to the tax office and run a ‘Twix’ which discloses a ‘recon’ or salvage title.
“Although there is fear of a bad “buy”, there are good buys out there and good people to buy from,” Davis said. “As a woman don’t assume everybody will take care of you – since you are a woman. That’s how we have been programmed to think, but once a car has been purchased, it’s yours! A car is an investment no matter what the cost. There are no lemon laws that govern used cars and you can get a great car for $2,500 to $7,500 dollars,” Davis said.
Diana Merrill Claussen; @AutoGoddess1