Buying a Used Car: It Pays To Do Your Research

By: Adrian Adams

When you buy a used car rather than a new car, it pays to do your research. Nobody wants to be stuck with a rust bucket or a car whose engine is just about to fail. Worst scenario of all is to buy a used car and then find out that it did not belong to the person who sold it and you have given away your money for a stolen car! It is not all bad news, however. The next important thing to remember, if you are thinking of buying a new car, is that as the person with the money, you have the upper hand. The seller wants to sell and in order to do that, he or she has to please you, the buyer, and convince you that you are getting a good deal for your money. If you are not convinced, that person loses the sale and there's no guarantee that someone else will be waiting to buy it.

If you're intent on buying a used car, shop around. Don't go for the first one you see advertised in the local shop window or one on the street that has a for sale sign. Make sure it is someone you know or go to a good auction or a reputable dealer.

You should have some idea of the type of car you want to buy even before you do your research on who is selling what. If you already have a set of specifications, you are not going to buy the first car on offer. Not only that, if you know what make and year you are looking for, it is possible to find out about any problems that might occur with that particular vehicle over a period of time. Most makes of car have something in their design that wears out or becomes faulty before the rest of the vehicle. This way, you can make sure that the fault is less likely to occur in essential components. While you are doing your research, you will also be able to get the correct market price for a specific vehicle - which won't be the case if you just go for the first one you see.

In most cases, you have less chance of buying a stolen car or one that the wheels drop off of a week down the line if you buy from a reputable dealer. You will probably have to pay more up front, but you are likely to get a warranty with the car. That way, at least you are covered for the first three to six months. Take someone with you when you go to buy the car. Preferably a mechanic but, if not, a friend or relative who is used to working on cars and knows what to look for as a sign of trouble. Don't buy a vehicle that the tire treads are completely worn on. If that detail is left unattended, who knows what is going on under the hood.

Wherever you buy your car, always ask to see the log book and think twice about buying the vehicle if that is not available. Not only does the log book give you the vehicle's history, it should have a record of change of ownership. Even if you buy from a dealer who gives you a warranty, make sure that you read all the small print before you hand over payment for a used car.

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