While buying a used car can save you money, it is often a scary and stressful decision. When purchasing a pre-owned car, how can you be sure of the car’s history? How can you know that it has been well taken care of and it safe and worth your money? Here is some information that can help you when you are looking for a used car.
Start by narrowing your car options. Think about what you are looking for most in a car. Do you want two doors or four doors? Should the car be an automatic transmission or a manual transmission? If you need to park on the street frequently, consider looking for something that is fairly short in length. If you have a big family, then maybe you would need a SUV or minivan. Also, think about mileage and determine what is the most amount of miles you are willing to have on the car.
Go over your car budget. If you have a certain budget, you should keep hat in mind when you shop, especially if it is fairly low. A low budget will narrow your choices down. Also, make sure that you make room in your spending budget for other costs. Since the car you will be purchasing is going to be used, you may have to take it for a tune up. Since you are adding another car, your insurance premium may go up as well. Factor in these variables before settling on a set budget.
Research the type of car you want. There are many resources out there that can help you learn more about the car you are looking at and help you determine if you are getting a good price. The Kelley Blue Book is one of the main resources for determining what a car is worth. Simply visit the website and put in all the car’s information. You will get back a suggested price that the car is selling for, based on the condition of the car. The better the condition of the car, the higher the quoted price will be.
You can also visit Edmunds and MSN Autos online for more information about the make and model of the car. Edmunds gives reviews on the cars and can also suggest whether is typically a good car to buy used. If they say that the car is not a good buy, then they will also suggest alternatives that are similar. MSN Autos provides charts that show what types of problems certain makes of cars usually face and how much it costs to fix them.
Once you find a car, check it out in person. Bring someone with you as a second opinion. Inspect the car carefully and take it for a test drive.
Before purchasing anything, ask the seller if you can check the car’s history on Carfax. If they decline, this should send up a red flag. If they agree, ask for the Vehicle Identification Number. Plug it into Carfax and you will get a full history of the car.
Another thing to check on before exchanging any money is the title. Ask the seller of he or she has the physical title and make sure that they show it to you. It should be in the seller’s name and no one else’s. Take the time to check the title because if you go to register the car under your name and find that there is a lien, you may end up losing the car you just paid for.
Also make sure that the title is not a salvage title. This is a type of title given to cars which at some point in its life, was deemed beyond salvageable by an insurance company. Sometimes this title can mean that the car was stolen and the vehicle itself is okay, but other times it means it was in an accident and damaged. Even if the car was fixed up and rebuilt, there may have been considerable damage to the structure that may have weakened the car making it less safe to drive.
Once you have checked out the car and its history, one last thing to do before making the exchange is to check your state’s car selling laws. Check your local Department of Motor Vehicles website to see if there is any specific paperwork that needs to be completed. Document everything that deals with the sale. Pay with a cashier’s check if you can and keep the stub as a receipt. Make sure that the seller fills out the top portion of the title before handing it over as well.