Shopping for a high-quality used car takes a great deal of work. Aside from your budget, you must consider your options and the car’s mileage, history, and safety. If you’re looking for guidance on getting started, here are some used car buying tips that will help.
Consider whether to buy the car from a dealer or private seller. If purchasing a car privately, your transaction may not be warrantied under state law. It will also not be covered under the Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule, which requires a Buyer’s Guide to be displayed in a used car. It describes the car’s systems, offers warranty details, and requires all promises to be put in writing.
Purchasing from a dealership gives you more leverage, but whether you purchase a used car from a dealer or private seller:
- Obtain the vehicle’s maintenance record
- Test drive the car on highways, in traffic, and on hills
- Research the vehicle’s value from trusted organizations
- Use a checklist or see a mechanic for an inspection
- Check for recalls on the vehicle
Learn as much about the vehicle’s history as possible, using:
- A vehicle history report from Carfax, AutoCheck, or other provider
- The National Insurance Crime Bureau for evidence of flood damage among other things.
- The Department of Justice’s National Motor Vehicle Title Information System for free information.
Figure out how you’re going to pay for the car. If you don’t have the cash to pay in full, you can finance the vehicle over time, although this will include interest and other costs. The financing term, monthly payments, and annual percentage rate are important details to work out. Also, think about how much you can afford to put down. Don’t sign any documents unless you fully understand the financing agreement; it should identify all the details above plus the total price you agree to pay.
Make sure to get an independent inspection from a mechanic. If the car has been certified by the dealer, this may only mean it has undergone a safety inspection. Ask the mechanic what the inspection includes and, if the dealer won’t let you leave the lot, have a mobile inspection service check it out. You can also ask the dealer to have the vehicle inspected somewhere you can trust.
Warranty options include “As Is – No Dealer Warranty”, which must be checked on the Buyer’s Guide so that if the dealer promises to repair the vehicle or cancel a sale, this promise can be verified. An implied warranty is an unspoken, unwritten promise that meets a seller’s obligations to meet reasonable quality standards, while a warranty of merchantability is a promise the product will do what it’s supposed to (the basic functions of a car, but not covering all potential problems).
If you’re purchasing a vehicle for a specific use, a warranty of fitness for a particular purpose may be issued. A warranty can be full or limited, either of which may cover the entire vehicle or just certain systems. Always get a copy of the dealer’s warranty document plus a service contract that promises the dealer will perform certain repairs or services. Unlike a warranty, a service contract can be arranged at any time.
Purchase a Used Vehicle from CarWorld
One of the largest Buy-Here Pay-Here dealerships in Hawthorne, CA, our family-owned business offers high-quality pre-owned vehicles representing all brands, makes, and models. We offer in-house financing regardless of your credit history. To learn more, visit our dealership or call 833-219-9951 today!