Buying a used car is an excellent way to get a good car at a reduced price. However, buying used cars can be an intimidating experience. How do you know that you are getting a good deal? How do you know the car is in good shape, mechanically? These and many other questions can plague any potential buyer. Below, you'll find a guide to help you make the right decision.
1. Does the car have a Carfax report?
A Carfax report will show every incident and accident (that is reported, at least) which the car has been involved in. The Carfax report tracks the vehicle's history based on the VIN (vehicle identification number). If the car does not come with a Carfax report, leave it alone and find something else.
2. Does the vehicle have an itemized checklist proving an inspection was performed?
Any used vehicle for sale on a dealer's lot should have an itemized inspection sheet showing that the car was inspected by a mechanic. If the car does not have this report, find something else.
3. Does the car still have warranty?
Many used vehicles carry a remainder of the manufacturer's warranty. Find out if the car has any warranty left. Choose a car that has a decent amount of warranty left, even if it means paying a little bit more.
4. Does the dealership offer an extended warranty on the car?
An extended warranty takes care of incidentals that the main warranty excludes and takes up after the main warranty expires. Make sure that one is available.
5. Does the dealership offer financing?
Most dealerships offer financing on their used vehicles. If the financing is done in-house (called buy here/pay here), it can cost you more.
6. Does the vehicle appear to be in good shape, physically?
Inspect the vehicle and note any areas of damage or discoloration. Ask about them and check the inspection sheet.
7. Has the vehicle been properly serviced and maintained?
This can be difficult to determine. Ask if the previous owner left maintenance paperwork. Also, check the oil change sticker and verify the mileage. Inspecting the fluids is also another good idea.
8. Does the vehicle have a good reputation?
While a vehicle's reputation with consumers is not always a good representation of a car's value, it can be a useful tool in determining whether you should make that purchase.
9. Test-drive the vehicle.
Always take the vehicle for a test drive. If you do not feel comfortable that you can determine any problems through driving, take a more qualified person with you.
10. Ask about outstanding recalls.
Ask the dealership, if there are any recalls on the vehicle. You can also check online on your own and verify this.