One way to buy a used car is to look online or in the papers. You can One way to buy a used car is to look online or in the papers. You can find cars for sale from the current owner, a used car lot or a new car dealer that also has good used cars for sale. It's often easy to find plenty of possibilities if you live in a large city. If you live in a rural area it's a little more difficult.
Used car lots can be reliable but they can also have a poor reputation. Ask friend, neighbors and relatives about their experience with different lots in your area. Even when you find someone with a good reputation you have to keep in mind that they probably don't have a history on the car. They got it from a new car dealer who doesn't want it or they bought it in an auction. You can check Carfax, but that doesn't tell you everything you need to know.
Buying from a new car dealer offers some nice options. You can get a certified pre-owned car, and they might have a full repair history on the car. You can also find a car that's almost new, sometimes under 10,000 miles. Occasionally a leased car is turned in early and it can be a good deal.
Another good way to buy a car is directly from the current owner. It's especially good if you can find a car that the current owner bought new. You want to find one where they've kept all the repair records. Examine them closely and have the car checked out by a mechanic.
Make sure you learn about the type of car you want to purchase. Many cars have certain weak spots that typically require repairs. Some repairs are pretty expensive, but others are no big deal. When you know what to watch out for you're in a better position to make a good deal with all the risks taken into consideration.
You also need to check the Carfax report for the specific car you're considering. Take a close look at the report, understanding that it's still possible for a car to have been in an accident without a report having been made.
Before you make a purchase be sure to have the car checked out by an independent mechanic. Don't take the seller's word for it. It might also help to have a body shop take a close look at it to see if there has been any damage done and if repairs were properly executed. One thing to watch out for is the bumpers. It's possible that the car was hit in the front or back with no apparent damage. The bumper covers might be fine but the honeycomb-shaped piece underneath might have been crushed, having absorbed the impact. It did its job, but can't do it again.
Following these simple guidelines will help you get ahead in the long run.
Hans Stecken recommends buying OEM auto parts from AutoWerks of America