Doing your homework now can easily translate into significant money saved later on.
Go through Consumer Reports to find out which vehicles are the safest.
While looks count, safety should be a key consideration too.
Drop by reputable automobile repair shops and ask them if you can bring your car down for inspection.
While there, inquire about the type of cars that go in for repeated repairs the most.
Don't forget to ask about features included in the car "look-over," the price and the timeframe involved.
Cover your bases by always having the info in writing.
When the car is done being examined, request a written report plus the cost estimate for any repairs from the mechanic.
See to it that the report contains the vehicle model, VIN and make.
Scrutinize the report, making sure all items are clear to you.
If you've got a number in mind and are ready to face the dealer following an inspection, you can rely on the estimated repair costs to discuss vehicle price.
If you're buying from a particular individual, keep in mind several things.
The Used Car Rule doesn't typically cover private sellers.
They also don't need to rely on the Buyers Guide.
Nevertheless, the Guide list of automobile major systems can still be used as shopping tools.
It's also okay to ask sellers if the vehicle can be seen by your personal mechanic.
If they refuse, be suspicious.
Regardless of how great the car looks, something may not be right.
Private sales are likely to be on an "as-is" basis.
The only time it isn't is if the purchase agreement with the seller specifies otherwise.
If there's a written contract, sellers have to honor their end of the deal.
There's a good chance the car is covered by a manufacturer warranty, with the service contract being transferable.
Other costs or limits might also be applicable.
Prior to buying a car, find out if it is still under a service contract or warranty and review the details thoroughly.
With some states, vehicle sellers are required to pass vehicle inspection prior to sales being made, but that seldom happens.
To learn what a state requires, call the local consumer protection agency or state attorney general's office.
One simple telephone call could save you from a huge headache later.
Whether getting a car from coworkers, neighbors or dealers, it's important to heed the tips here:
- Prepare an inspection checklist when inspecting the car yourself.
Most magazine books and articles, and the Net feature checklists dealing with used car purchases.
- Chat up the previous owners.
This is especially important if the current owner is not familiar with the history of the car.
- If shopping in summer, always inspect the heater.
Testing the rear defroster doesn't hurt too.
If it's freezing outside, you should still turn the air on to see if it's working.
- Take it for a test drive under different road conditions like stop-and-go road traffic, highways and hills.
- Have your mechanic inspect the car.
- Ask to see the vehicle's maintenance record.
If there are no copies with the owner, phone the repair shop or dealership where the car was handled.
They're more than willing to share their files.
Learn everything about the vehicle before making an offer.
Doing so guarantees driving away satisfied with your used car purchase.