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5 Things to Know Before Buying a Used Car

last updated October 7, 2014 by

Buying a used car can be an intimidating and nerve racking experience. It is important to buy from a trusted source and do your research before making the purchase. Here are 6 steps to take to ensure a smart and happy used car buying experience.

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  1. Pick the best time to go car shopping

Car dealerships are usually the slowest on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Since these are their slow days, they are more likely to negotiate a better price – especially if they are bored! If you can free your schedule, definitely take advantage of these slower days to do your car shopping.

Also, the end of the month or end of the year is a great time to buy a used car. Dealerships are trying to clear out their inventory and salesmen are desperate to hit their quotas, giving you the upper hand in negotiations.

  1. Make sure the dealer prints out a CARFAX Report for you

Before purchasing a new car, it is important to get a CARFAX Report. This report lets you know if the car has been in any accidents, any mechanical work that has been done on it, how many miles were reported at the last odometer reading and more. All of this information should be available for free from the website or from a dealer.

The report is also important because it will alert you if the car has a salvaged title. A salvaged title means that the car was in a major accident and has basically been rebuilt.

  1. Do a full walk around and take it to a mechanic

Make sure to check the car out thoroughly. Do a full walk around, checking the tires and the body of the car and make sure everything works properly. If you don’t know much about cars, getting it checked by a certified mechanic is highly recommend and could save you lots of money in repairs in the future.

  1. Check the Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau is an organization that monitors how businesses operate. This site shows you the reputation of a business, but there is no guarantee that you’ll find a report on the business.

Also, don’t trust everything you read on the dealerships website. Customer reviews and ratings can be forged or bought.

  1. Know your state’s lemon laws

Knowing your state’s laws for buying and selling cars is important. Different states have different laws to protect buyers from purchasing a bad car, some states have a two-day warranty, but not all. Check your states Department of Motor Vehicle’s website to learn how your state handles these situations.