Buying a used car can be just as exciting as buying a new car if you handle the situation the right way. Nobody wants to buy a lemon, but it happens. To avoid buying a junker use the following steps:
Make a Choice
Decide what kind of car you want first. Make a list of what you need in a car and make sure the car you buy meets all of your criteria. Consider things like fuel mileage if you live on a budget. Narrow a list of a few different types of used cars. Ideally you want to purchase one that has a good resale value and is reliable.
What It’s Worth
Use the web to your advantage. If you are looking at a particular car, check sites like Kelly Blue Book (http://www.kbb.com/) to determine the value. You can put in the make, model, mileage and condition to get a fair idea of what the car you are looking at is worth. This makes negotiating a deal on the car much easier.
Check It Out
Before you make a deal check the vehicles VIN report. The VIN is a 17 digit number that is linked to a vehicles title. This will give you a history of the car including if it has been an accident or if there are any odometer discrepancies.
Do Your Homework
Research the car’s recall history. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a page (http://www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/Recalls+&+Defects) where you can find out if the car you are buying has any major safety recalls. You should then make sure that any necessary repairs have been made. You don’t want to buy a car if it has a recall that hasn’t been addressed by the seller.