What to Know When Buying a Used Car

What to Know When Buying a Used Car

You may wonder what to know when buying a used car? One of the best pieces of advice to follow before buying a used car is to do your homework. You probably have an idea about which kind of car you want to buy, i.e., the make and model, and whether you want a two-door or four-door. You also probably know whether you want a sedan, family car or pick-up, and what kind of gas mileage you need depending on how often and how far you travel for work and/or recreation.

Proper Research is Important

Before you visit a dealership, you'll want to begin a web-search to check out everything about the vehicle(s) you want. You can even find recall lists on makes and models, saving you time and hassle. Check out current values at from trusted sites. Collect information from many sources, do your own research, then create a chart filled with information from various sources to compare the price. When you learn the current value of the vehicle(s) you are interested in, you give yourself negotiating power when interacting with a salesperson. Knowledge is power, and you never want to enter into a big decision-making process, especially where your money is involved, without being prepared. And always err on the side of caution. Selling used cars is a business, and they want your money.

Guide to buying a used car

If possible, try to buy your next used car from the previous owner. You can find these deals in your local paper and your neighborhood. Often times the previous owners might have spare paint, the instruction manual, even snow tires. Also, you can ask them questions about the car. The fewer owners the car has had, obviously, the better, and if you trust the previous owners, that's a bonus. But keep in mind, if you're not shopping locally and want to broaden your options, an internet search is always a great option for you, just be sure to surf through trustworthy sources only. The Internet is one of the powerful and free sources where you can seek out used car buying tips and follow through with those tips and advice.

What to check when buying a used car

You should definitely "check under the hood", and make sure there is no structural damage from a previous accident or natural disaster, like a flood. Be sure that the odometer reading is accurate and has not been tampered with. Check the airbag to make sure that it is still in the car and that it has not been deployed. Pay a mechanic to inspect the car for you before you buy it. This is very important -- have them check the brakes, engine, motor, radiator, muffler, and inside the body for any structural damage. Better to spend a little extra money ahead of time than to find out later that your used vehicle is a clunker.

Take the car out for a rigorous test drive, including driving it in busy traffic, up and down steep hills, on the highway, and along winding roads. This is your hard-earned money you're going to be spending on the vehicle, and you don't want something you can only drive when the weather's nice or on a trip that's less than 30 miles. Check out the maintenance record on the car. If you notice that it's been in for serious repairs, or has had several estimates for expensive repairs, such as transmission work or head gasket repairs that the current owner couldn't afford to fix, move along.

Used car advice

Although dealerships now prefer terms like “pre-owned” rather than used, keep in mind that the average pre-owned automobile has probably had three owners. With many car search and car safety inspection services, you can, however, find out information, or even receive an inspection report about a vehicle before you pay one red cent. Never buy a car where the VIN number has been partially scraped away. And don't forget, dealerships can't deny you the right to see the car inspection report on the car.

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So, you’re in the market for a car, but which is the better option for you? Should you buy a brand-new car? Or would you be better off with a good quality used car? There are pros and cons to be considered for each, and in this post, we’re going to look at some of the differences between buying new and buying used.