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Buying a Used Car: What to Look for when Shopping

Although it's very exciting, shopping for a car can be a scary experience. Buying a used car is a great option but the buyer must beware. Follow these tips when shopping for your used car to be prepared and help avoid scams.

Tip #1: Do some research.
Search online ads and the newspaper for cars in your area before you see the dealers. This will make you a much savvier shopper. You will be more aware of what's available, the questions to ask, and reduce the risk of being scammed.

Tip #2: Secure financing for the car before shopping.
Get pre-approved for an auto loan before shopping for a used car. With financing secured, you'll know how much you can spend to stay within your budget.  

Tip #3: Check with CARFAX.
CARFAX provides you with the history of a car, given the car's VIN#. Every vehicle has a unique VIN# which may be used to gather information about the vehicle. CARFAX verifies that there was no previous branding of the title, flooding of the car, odometer rollback, salvaged title, or that the car was reported stolen. It is recommended that you get a 30 day Unlimited CARFAX Vehicle History Report. This report allows you to check the VIN# on any number of cars for 30 days. Use the VIN# of your parent's car to run a CARFAX report just to get used to reading the report. When you find used cars you are interested in buying, run the VIN# of each car before making any offers.

Tip #4: Have a mechanic do an inspection.
Have a mechanic put a car you're interested in buying up on a lift and do an inspection. You'll be able to find out if there is any damage from accidents that may cause you problems or that should be repaired before the car is sold.

Tip #5: Be a tough negotiator.
When you've thoroughly checked out the car and are ready to make an offer, remember to be a tough negotiator. The seller does not expect to get the asking price, but they want you to think that's the lowest price they can accept. Never let the seller think you HAVE TO HAVE that particular car! You need to make sure the seller believes you will walk away from the deal if it's not what you want. Go to the seller with your CARFAX report on that car. You'll know the value of the car, if the odometer has been reset, or if there was ever an issue with the car's title. Your being prepared will give you an advantage in negotiating the price down.

Tip #6: Get an extended warranty.
When buying a used car, it is recommended that you purchase an extended warranty to cover repairs. Warranties are available for used cars as much as 8 years old and up to 60,000 miles. In addition, never sign an "AS IS" agreement when purchasing a used car.

Posted: 8/29/2014 with 1 comments

Categories: Auto Loans, Buying a Car, Finances

Buying a used car is always an intimidating experience for most. In my opinion, it is because of the "unknown" or the "what if". The number one key to making a pleasant used car buying experience is being informed. Here is an example. I search online ,find a vehicle I want and a price I can live with. Now it's time to do the research before I even step foot into the dealer. All cars have their "quirks", so go online and search forums of the car you are looking to purchase. In the forums you will usually see what issues current and prior owners have had with that particular make and model. Now that you have that information, you know what exact areas to look at when you actually see the vehicle you want. Also carfax gives a small snap shot of what may or may not be going on. Kelly blue book gives you values on what you should and should not pay for a vehicle. When I read bad reviews about car dealers and their "bad cars" it's kind of frustrating because after all the car is used. We also give too much power to the dealer by not being informed and are in too much of a hurry to get the hell out of there. As a result a hurried purchase is made and what follows is a bad review. If you don't trust the dealer then take the vehicle to an independent shop for an inspection, most dealers allow this. If not, run, run as fast as you can. Bottom line is there is no such thing as a completely problem free used car. Maintenance and repairs are a fact and certainly when owning a vehicle. The repairs needed on a used vehicle are the exact same as they would be if you bought and new vehicle from day one. Only difference is when you buy a used vehicle your fast forwarding to the part when repairs are needed. which is why most vehicle owners are selling or trading in their car in the first place. Can some dealers do better "inspecting the car" sure. Only we are going to be the ones driving the vehicle for years to come, they only need the vehicle to drive off the lot. Take the power back and do the research. Don't be in a hurry. Plus it's fun to watch the salesman squirm when you know more about the vehicle than they do. Take the power from the dealers and be informed.
6/26/2017 4:33:59 AM

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