back to articles | August 12, 2022 | Staci Bailey

Categories: Tips & Insights For Car Buying Buying & Selling Cars Vehicle & Buying Research

Should You Buy a Car Sight Unseen?

Here’s what you should do when buying a car sight unseen: research, check for price variations, carefully read the adverts, and inspect the pictures.


Online shopping has created a craze about fast buying, leading consumers to forego some critical elements when buying products. For instance, when you order online, you're likely to receive something you didn't touch or experience first-hand.

The problem with sight unseen is that you can fall prey to counterfeit products. In addition, you may fail to inspect and establish glaring flaws in the intended product, thus suffering losses. Examining something by conducting a thorough evaluation and even sourcing an expert for recommendation is the way to go, especially when buying a car.

Problems with Buying a Car Sight Unseen

Here are common reasons you shouldn’t buy a car without seeing and inspecting it.

Technical issues

Buying a car without seeing it predisposes you to far-reaching risks. You can fall victim to common problems such as alternator failure, sensor failures, and air conditioning issues. The turbo is also privy to fail, especially when you purchase a second-hand car.

Inspecting the car first-hand may help you pinpoint floor rust and give you a better view of the car before making a purchase decision. Remember, once you seal the deal with the buyer and sign the papers, there's no going back. So, it's critical to do due diligence before accepting the bargain.

Cost factors

You cannot negotiate for a better deal without first seeing the car. For instance, if the auto has mechanical or functional problems, you cannot pinpoint these issues as leverage for your negotiation.

Inspecting the car first-hand allows you to identify critical components that can improve your bargain. Better yet, you can arrive at a better deal because you have tangible proof of the price, quality, and maintenance status.

Legal issues

Purchasing a car is a legally-binding process that involves contracts and receipts. So, it's critical to keep everything in check before commencing a car loaning process.

Ensure that your credit scores are in place, establish your affordability by deducting your expenditures and deductibles from your total income, and correct any anomalies in your credit card statements.

Purchasing a car without attending to it may deny you the legal basis to dispute any violations in your contract terms. For instance, if the seller told you over the phone (or internet) that the turbo was functional only for it to fail a day after purchase, you may fail to prove this in a court of law.

However, attending to the car and having a mechanic examine its main components – engine, gearbox, body, and chassis – may help you establish legal grounds in case of litigation.

So, for legal purposes and contractual reasons, ensure you personally attend to it before committing to purchase it or sign a cheque.


Purchasing a car sight unseen may compromise the integrity of the purchase process, especially when the seller gives a quotation that doesn't match the car's status. So, integrity and transparency demand that sellers offer fair estimation and account for any failures or malfunctions in the total asking price.

Buying a car sight unseen may give the seller a leeway to undermine the integrity of the purchase process to his favor.

Tips and Tricks for Buying a Car Sight Unseen

Buying a car today poses several challenges. You have to inspect it to ensure it's as advertised, you're not getting ripped off, and it drives smoothly without funny noises.

You also have to ensure that the paperwork is original and up-to-date.

However, when you've found your ideal ride somewhere else, like in another different state, it can be uneconomical to fly out. You can always entrust someone to inspect the car and identify whether it fits your underlying requirements.

Let's look at some things to look out for and how to protect yourself from the risks of buying a car sight unseen.


It’s first important to research carefully before initiating negotiations or transactions with the car dealer. It’s important to know what faults the car has, how much it will cost you to repair, and how much effort and time it will take to get the car back on track.

In addition, it's crucial to identify which of these errors or faults are recall-related. And once you've armed yourself with this information, it's the right time to contact the owner. Critically observe when talking to the owner and identify the motives behind selling the car.

Speaking to the seller can ultimately give cues as to the reasons for selling it.

Compare prices

Before biting a bullet on a new or used car, it's first crucial to do cross-state evaluations on the price and value of the car. Do online research, ask around, and compare deals to identify how these prices vary based on location, dealer, or even ownership status.

Read adverts

When buying a car sight unseen, investigate the car advert. Identify the car number, ownership status, car model, upgrades, specs, and features. Check the ameliorations made by the previous owner and determine different prices for various listings.

You need to check whether the car has had any recall issues and if these issues have been addressed. Check for recent Carfax inspections and if proof of work is given in these documents. In addition, determine whether there are any price negotiations.

Inspect pictures

Buying a car sight unseen demands that you do due diligence on the car. You can find a great deal somewhere else and ship. And boom! You have the car of your dreams.

However, you must inspect the car to ensure you have the best deal for the best price. To conduct due diligence, look carefully at the pictures of the car. Inspect for spray variations to identify prior spray work.

You can also tell whether the car appears to be cleaned regularly, signs of rust, panels line-up or whether the engine bay has leaks just by inspecting the pictures. You can tell if touchpoints and switches are worn-out or discs ridged just by examining the pictures.

These are the kind of inspections you'd normally do in person.

However, if you know how to inspect before buying, you can generate a good judgment of the car's overall condition.

myAutoloan – Professional Auto Loan Provider

Working with trusted providers of car loaning solutions helps you identify the right car. Trusted car dealers and car loan experts often work with trusted providers, selling quality cars that meet and exceed minimum market standards.

So, by working with a professional car lender or contracting the services of a professional car loan agency, you can access a car in good condition without even inspecting it personally.

The lender does the homework for you, helping you identify a product that fits and exceeds your expectations.