How To Buy A Used Car And What to Watch Out For

For many consumers, buying a new car is no longer rPiggy _bankealistic as new cars have gotten more and more
expensive. Purchasing a used car allows a consumer to buy the make
and model of car they want that they may not have been able to have
afford as a new car. Used cars can be purchased from a small used
car lot, from a manufacturer authorized dealership, or from an
individual owner of the vehicle.

Regardless of where the car is purchased, there are many things
that you must beware of, such as when someone says they ran the car
through its 50 to 150 point inspection. All that means is that they
had a check list and they can assure you the car has tires and the
breaks are not falling off. The best used car will have one owner
that has taken care of it and who has an accident free history. It
is not uncommon to find that many used cars have been subject to
prior accidents, use as a rental car, had its odometer rolled back,
and even have been deemed to be a lemon. Here are some helpful tips
when looking for and buying a used car.

  • The Carfax

We have all seen the commercials with the little fox popping up
between a salesman and the customer telling the dealer to show the
carfax. Carfax is the leading database on
automotive histories and provides the history of the vehicle
including accident damage, number of owners, mileage markings at
various stages, then a vehicle has been declared a total loss, as
well as service and maintenance history. Most dealerships have
access to Carfax and use it regularly themselves. Request to see
the Carfax report, as any retail seller will have it. If a dealer
doesn’t willingly supply you with the report you may want to look
at another car or dealer. If you do your homework on- line before
going to the dealer or you are purchasing from an individual that
may not have a report for you, you can access it for about $30 by
going to the website ; all you need to do is have the Vehicle
Identification Number (VIN) .

  • Warranty History Report

Running a Warranty History Report is second nature to an
authorized dealer. The report will list all repairs performed on a
vehicle throughout the warranty period. It is best to buy a used
car from the dealer that sells the same brand of new cars so if you
are buying a used Chevy, try to buy it from a Chevrolet new car
dealership. If you are buying a Chevy from a Toyota dealer -you can
take the VIN from one dealer and walk into another. Ask the service
department for a warranty history report which will show all the
repairs the vehicle had under warranty.

  • Bring a Mechanic

It doesn’t hurt to take your own mechanic with you when
examining a used car. Have them in to look at the car, drive it,
check under the hood and look underneath the carriage. A well
trained mechanic can tell if the vehicle has been properly
maintained or if it has been damaged in an accident, and they will
tell you what you can expect in the way of repairs.

  • Longer Test Drive

Over the years we have heard from clients that the used car
worked just fine in the test drive and then, the moment it was
taken off the lot, it broke down. How can it work fine right up to
the point it is sold, then the problems come in a flurry? This can
be a crazy coincidence, or it can be because people take short test
drives to see if the car works. Drive the car for 3-5 miles before
agreeing to buy it and, if you are a highway driver, take it on the
highway. You may want to go back a few
timesto test drive
it. If it breaks down or has any problems at all in the test drive
– then chances are you will have problems all the way through. Do
not be fooled by the salesman’s promise that it is a minor problem
that they will have fixed right up for free. This problem is a
foreshadowing of things to come.

  • When Buying from an Individual, Ask

Who did you buy this car
from? How long did you have it? Have you had to repair it while you
have had it? Has the car been in an accident before? These are all
important questions to ask. Make the owner give you answers. While
some of the consumer fraud and deceptive business practices
statutes will allow a consumer to make a claim for concealed or
omitted facts, most require that there be an actual
misrepresentation of facts. It is not always enough that the dealer
or owner failed to tell you something; instead they have to go so
far as to lie to you in order for you to make a claim if you find
yourself on the bad end of a sale.

  • Read All Paperwork

Whether the car you buy is
new or used, there is a plethora of papers that have to be signed.
There is no better time for a dealer to slip something past you,
such as a disclosure that says “the dealer has made no
representations regarding the history of this vehicle.” If you
followed the advice above, and got answers to your questions, the
dealer did indeed make representations about the vehicle, and it
would be foolish to sign or initial something saying he did

While going into a car sale
armed with information is never fool proof, by following the above
tips and tricks you can greatly reduce the risk of buying a vehicle
that is going to break down on you. Get the Carfax and a Warranty
History report, bring a mechanic, take a long test drive, ask the
dealer questions, and read your paperwork. Then, you can take
comfort that you have reduced the risk on your used car purchase.
Remember, used cars aren’t as
cheap as they were 10 to 15 years ago. Make sure you love what you
are buying and that you won’t have to put additional money into it

. has over 30 years of combined experience practicing law
protecting the rights of consumers around the country.  If you
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