Buying a Second Hand Car


Purchasing a secondhand vehicle is a way to get transportation without paying the exorbitant sticker prices that often accompany brand new cars. However, consumers should be more cautious and educated when purchasing a secondhand vehicle as it can be subject to more problems than new cars.

This is attributed to the fact that it was previously owned, which means there may have been problems that were not disclosed by the original owner.


5 Steps to Buy a Second Hand Car

Buying a Second Hand Car


1. Conduct research on the type of car you plan to purchase.

Choose two or three potential models in case you can’t find a used version of the one you want. Figure out the retail price of the newer model as well as the value of the used models, depending on the year. Also research potential costs for maintenance of the vehicle and any necessary upkeep.


2. Test drive a few different used models.

You may have every intention of purchasing one type of car, but upon doing a test drive, you might not like the way it drives or handles on the road.

Drive several different cars and note the ones that drive well, have good fuel mileage and boast a cozy interior. Pay attention to the various features of each car as you drive it to determine which one would be an optimal purchase choice.


3. Request a vehicle history document from those models you are considering purchasing.

This document gives you an idea of the real condition of the car as it details major accidents in which it was involved, major body and/or repair work, flooding or other damage from natural disasters and more.

The vehicle history report also gives you a more accurate mileage count, in case the odometer was rolled back to make the car look as though it had less miles on it than it actually did.


4. Take the car to a reputable mechanic before making your purchase.

In some instances, the dealer may suggest a mechanic willing to look at the car free of charge. However, it is best if you take the car to your own service professional in the event that the dealer and his mechanic are working together to get the car sold — at all costs.

Ask about any problems your mechanic might foresee with this car as well as the condition of major parts, such as the engine and transmission.


5. Read over paperwork and contracts carefully.

Make sure the previous owner does not still owe money for a lien on the vehicle and that the title is completely cleared. Have the previous owner sign the title over to you as soon as you arrange to give him the money for the car and that the person signing the Bill of Sale is actually the owner of the vehicle.

If you are working with a dealer, read the fine print on all of your contracts carefully and make sure to get all warranty information before you leave the lot.


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