Checklist for Buying Used Cars

by Contributor

When buying a used car, it is vital to avoid the countless scams and unscrupulous deals that look too good to be real. For instance, some of the common used car scams include rolling back the odometer to make the mileage appear less than the actual reading and a person selling a car that he doesn't own. When buying a used car, it is helpful to have a used car checklist.

Obtain Documents

Before signing any documents or handing over money, one thing to check off your list is obtaining all the necessary documents concerning the used car. For instance, obtain the vehicle identification number (VIN). The buyer can check the VIN number at the state motor vehicle department, or companies such as CarFax will provide the used car's history. This history will include prior owners, any other states where the car was registered with the motor vehicle department and the mileage listed at the time it was sold. Copies of the title are also good things to get; the title will list whether the car has been salvaged.

Inspect the Car

Look at the car to make sure that there are not oddities that show that the seller is trying to hide damage. The car should have paint that matches, tires that show even wear and no signs of rust. Also inspect the car's belts, hoses and radiator to make sure that everything is fine.

Hire a Certified Mechanic

An inspection is vital to buying a used car from an automobile dealer or seller. An inspection will reveal any problem with the car. Anyone buying a used car should hire a trusted certified mechanic. Once the used car is chosen, it's important to have the certified mechanic to check out the vehicle to make sure that it is working properly. If a certified mechanic can't be obtained have the car inspected at a diagnostic center.

Checklist Considerations

A used car buyer trading in a car and buying a new used car should add something else to the checklist: the price of the new used car should always be negotiated before discussing the trade-in value of the buyer's car. The last thing a buyer wants to for the trade in value of an old car to be pre-negotiated because it may increase the asking price of the "new" used car.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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