Tips For Buying a Quality Used Car


Purchasing a used car can be a great value or a great disappointment. Unfortunately, many used car buyers learn after the fact that the vehicle they purchased was not worth the price they paid. There is often little recourse because many of these cars are sold “as is” or have warranties limited to 90 days or less. Therefore a little bit of research and investigation prior to your purchase can go a long way towards making your used car purchase a positive experience.

Have a certified mechanic inspect the car prior to purchase. This is the single most important step to ensure that you are purchasing a good used vehicle. Many used car purchasers make the mistake of not having their car inspected until after they have purchased it and mechanical problems start to arise. A good mechanic can tell you many things about a vehicle’s past after a thorough inspection. In addition to learning whether the vehicle has any obvious signs of mechanical problems, a mechanic can tell you if the vehicle was properly maintained, was abused, has accurate mileage, was involved in a collision and any expenses you are likely to incur in the near future. It is well worth it to pay for a mechanical inspection prior to purchasing a car rather than incurring costly repairs once you own the vehicle.

Order a Carfax or Autocheck report on the vehicle. Carfax and Autocheck reports are available online and will tell if a vehicle was previously used as a rental, was a lemon-law buyback, has an inaccurate odometer, or was involved in a collision that was reported to a governmental agency. You should order your own report directly from the service because some car dealers will provide you with an abbreviated version of the report which does not contain the complete vehicle history.

Check the used car market to find the approximate value of the car you intend to purchase. Websites such as and will provide you with the approximate value of cars which are similar in age, mileage, options, and overall condition to the car you are considering purchasing. Knowing the approximate market value of the car you are interested in purchasing will help you negotiate a fair price with the dealer.

Have the car manufacturer’s dealer run a warranty history. If the car you are considering buying is less than six model years old you may be able to obtain a warranty history from one of the manufacturer’s authorized dealers. Just bring the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to the dealer and ask them to provide you with a copy of the warranty history on the car. The warranty history will show all of the repairs that were made to the car that were covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

The above tips can help you avoid a sour experience with your used car purchase.


One Response to “Tips For Buying a Quality Used Car”

  1. The Truth About “Certified” Used Vehicles « Romano Stancroff & Mikhov PC’s Lemon Law Blog Says:

    […] For more information, see the entry on buying a quality used car, Tips for Buying a Quality Used Car: […]

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