Purchasing a Used Car

By: Jake Newbury

Used cars can be a great way to get a deal on a car and still get a good vehicle. Shopping around and doing it wisely can lead you to a great used car. Being too hasty can cause you to buy a lemon. If you do a thorough analysis of a car, you can come away with a car that will stand the test of time. Deciding on a vehicle you are looking to purchase is the first step. Make your decision about what you're looking for in a car before stepping onto the car lot, or calling a private party. It's advisable to have an idea on how much mileage your "new" car could have, as well as some sense of how many features you'd like.

To begin, check online for car values and visit car sales sites. You will get a feel for what the base price will be on the car you choose. Beware of a deal that's too good to believe. It usually is. If the price tag on the vehicle is too low, it can signal that the car will require costly repairs later on.

Don't forget to check your state's Lemon Laws. These laws help prevent the sales of abnormally poor vehicles - lemons - which are defined as vehicles requiring a certain number of repairs for a certain number of problems within a given period of time, most often 30 to 45 days.

When you look at your states specific laws, make sure to check for the exact details. With the law on your side, you should have more courage to ask the hard questions that will keep you from purchasing a lemon. Writing down and looking up the VIN number can help you avoid the purchase of a lemon. For cars you're seriously considering, grab the VIN number. It's located on the driver's side of the dashboard, close to the windshield. You can use the VIN, plus $20, to obtain a report on the vehicle. Even the most thorough inspection can only tell you about the car today, but a VIN report can uncover everything in the car's past. It will include anything from accidents to expensive repairs. While low cost may usually be bad, don't count out a low cost car too quickly, if it's through a dealer. While a dealer may be more expensive than a private party, the cars they sell are often thoroughly inspected and include a warranty. This could be a great way to avoid a lemon. Make sure you are not buying a lemon, but that you are getting a good value. Low cost is not the only aspect of purchasing a used car.

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