Tips for Finding a Good Deal on a Used Car

By: Levi Quinn

Not everyone is comfortable haggling with car salesmen over the price of a used car. Buying a used car can be stressful and protecting yourself from scams and lemons is not always easy. Here are a few suggestions to help you successfully shop for a used car.

ï??Research the Blue Book value of the car before negotiating a price. This ensures that you will not unknowingly agree to an overpriced purchase.

ï??Ask about the title. Check to be sure that the vehicle does not have a salvage title and the seller has legal authority to sell the car.

ï??While private purchases can sometimes save you money, it is best to buy from a dealer whenever possible. Consumer car laws do not extend to private transactions.

ï??Test drive the vehicle. Take it out on the highway, climb hills and drive through stop-and-go traffic. Drive to places you would normally travel and look for changes in the car's suspension, engine and transmission during your trip.

ï??Pay a mechanic to check over the vehicle before putting any money down. Use an ASE certified mechanic of your choosing so you get a fair appraisal of the condition of the car.

ï??Ask for the maintenance record of the vehicle.

ï??If the car has mismatched tires or cracked glass, the previous owner most likely did not take good care of the car.

ï??Ask about the warranty. Get the specifics of the warranty covering the vehicle. Make sure that you review all paperwork before signing and check to ensure that the stated terms are accurate in the paperwork.

ï??Don't cave in to high pressure sales tactics. If you are feeling pressured into a sale, ask to view the car privately. Politely explain that you are not prepared to purchase anything today and would like some space to look over the vehicle.

ï??Check the finish for any differences in the paint. If you notice that the paint does not match exactly on a body panel, it may have been recently repaired. A good quality body shop will match the finish for a seamless repair. This may be your first hint that the car has been in an accident or has had shoddy repair work.

ï??Ask the sales rep or private owner why they are selling the car and if it has been in any accidents. If they state the car has had an accident, ask what specific parts were damaged, what was repaired or replaced and where the work was performed.

ï??Kick the tires. Yes, kick the tires. Check to see if they have bulges or obvious defects. Check the rims for rust, defects and excessive brake dust.

ï??Check the oil level. If the motor oil is low, the owner may not take very good care of the car. Smell the oil on the dipstick. It should not smell burnt or have visible dirt or debris. This could be a sign of engine trouble.

Preparation is the most important part of buying a used car. Don't buy anything on your first day of shopping. You can use these tips to help you make an informed decision about your next vehicle purchase and avoid ending up with a lemon.

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