Tips for Buying a Used Car

Don't get taken for a ride! Avoid trouble by following these 10 simple tips for buying a used car.

1. Try to buy a vehicle that has only had one previous owner. A one owner car is almost always in better condition than a car with several previous owners.

2. Buy a vehicle with low mileage. A lower mileage vehicle will usually last you longer and have fewer problems. Also, a car should have no more than 15,000 miles of use per year since it was new. For example, if the car is three years old, don't buy it unless it has less than 45,000 miles on the odometer.

3. Buy a vehicle with a warranty. Usually you have to buy from a dealer to get a warranty but the factory warranty on many cars is often transferable. Just ask the current owner if the car is still under factory warranty and what the terms are. A warranty is excellent insurance in case you have problems with your used car long after you've bought it.

4. If you are buying a used car from a dealer, make sure they have a good reputation. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau. Once a crooked used car dealer has your money, you'll be quickly forgotten or worse yet, completely ignored.

5. Get a CarFax.com vehicle history report for any used car you thinking of buying. This will tell you everything you need to know about the car's history, even things that the current owner may not know.

6. Don't pay more than the car is actually worth. Forget about looking into a NADA guide or the Kelley Blue Book. Here's a secret that professional car dealers don't want you to know. The real value of a used car is listed in the Galves used car price guide. It only costs a few dollars to access their service online (galves.com) and it is the true industry authority on used car prices.

7. Test drive the vehicle thoroughly. This means putting the car through its paces. Hard acceleration, hard cornering and hard braking. Better to find any problems now than after you have purchased the car. If the owner won't let you test drive the car, walk away. It’s a sure sign of trouble.

8. Have a mechanic you trust do a thorough inspection of any car you plan on buying. This is a simple way to avoid headaches down the line. If the mechanical inspection turns out okay, that is a good sign. If it reveals problems with the car, this will provide you with a good negotiating point to lower the price.

9. Stay away from cars that have been used as rentals, taxis, police cars and so on. These cars can be bought for very cheap but you will spend a fortune on repairs. These cars have often been abused.

10. Most importantly, don't buy a used car if the deal seems too good to be true. It usually is. There are a lot of unscrupulous car sellers that will take your money and you'll never see them again. Buyer beware!

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