How To Buy A Used Car
© 2012Alan Abel
I am appalled by the number of people who innocently buy used cars. Some select the shiniest ones. Yet none of these buyers can tell a carburetor from a piston.
The secret for buying a used car is to meet the previous owner. Ask to spend a night as their house guest.You’ll find out what he or she is like personally and soon know if you’re buying a lemon. For example, if you discover that the former owner wears raggedy underwear, such a person would ignore holes in the car’s radiator.
Recently, I considered buying a 1980 Plymouth at the bargain price of $299.The dealer was willing to throw in a set of dishes and an orange juice squeezer.I insisted on meeting the former owner and he agreed.
Mr. Fred Brower was a retired IRS agent and this is what I discovered after only twenty-four hours in his bungalow:
1.He was thirty pounds overweight, had curvature of the spine, a pot belly andhe walked bowlegged!His car was a perfect twin. The radiator bulged, wheels were out of line, and the tailpipe dragged noisily.
2.Mr. Brower served me canned meatballs for dinner, so I knew he bought the cheapest gas. This explained why the motor had a knock and the universal joint screeched like a sperm whale in heat.
3.One of his suspenders was ripped and patched with paper clips. The car’s fan belt was torn and held together by bobby pins.Mr. Brower had dirty fingernails. Sure enough the car’s spark plugs were caked with grime.
4.I purposely dropped a cigar ash on my host’s living room rug.He rubbed it into the moth-eaten rug. Naturally, his car’s upholstery was covered with cigarette burns.
5.Mr. Brower’s shoes were terribly run down. The car’s tires were worn to the tubes. He had glued fake rubber on them for the illusion of a recap job.
6.When I learned he hadn’t had his eyes examined in over two years, I checked out the auto’s headlights. Both bulbs were too dim to see anything at night.
7.Mr. Brower never wore socks.Nor were his brakes lined. In order to come to a dead stop, I had to use the emergency brake and shift quickly into reverse.
8.All the clocks in his house were twenty minutes slow. After drinking cheap wine he admitted he had turned back the odometer 20,000 miles..
9.His teeth hadn’t been cleaned in three years. The only time he ever washed his car was the day he drove to his mother’s funeral.When I confronted the used car dealer with all my evidence, he offered to sell me this jalopy for only $150. But without the dishes or orange juice squeezer. So the next time you see an ad that says, “Used car hardly ever driven by high fashion model,” I suggest you first spend a night with the owner.(firstname.lastname@example.org)