Do you or your children need a good used car? Is it stressing you to look for a used car? Buy with confidence by considering the following tips:
* Think about how long you will keep the car, what color, size, and features you want. And, of course, what you can afford.
* Talk to people who have a car like you are considering buying. What do they like or dislike about the car?
* Talk with your bank or credit union about their terms for a used auto loan.
* Use resources about used cars, such as Edmunds’s Used Cars Prices and Ratings (www.edmunds.com), Consumer Reports, Monthly Kelly Blue Book (www.kbb.com).
* Check out the dealer’s reputation at the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org).
* Ask the dealer for the CARFAX on the vehicle and/or how you can contact the previous owner.
* Check with banks and credit unions for repossessed cars to pay off defaulted loans.
* If you buy from a private owner, ask for the car’s maintenance and repair records. Check the title to make sure the seller is the legal owner.
* If you buy from a government, private or online vehicle auction, be prepared to pay on the spot. If you are not a car expert, take a friend who is.
* Inspect the car in daylight and good weather.
* Road test, checking out everything on that dashboard — lights, radio, wind shield wipers, heater, etc. Listen for unusual engine noises. Drive on a variety of roads. Do the brakes grab?
* Look for warning signs such as touch-up paint and poor-fitting doors– either could mean the car has been wrecked.
* Check for uneven wear on front tires. Uneven wear could mean bad alignment or suspension damage.
* Look for signs of odometer tampering. White lines between numbers that don’t line up or vibration of the 1/10 mile number while the car is moving are indications of this.
* Regardless of where you purchase the car, have your mechanic check it over before you make a final offer. If you buy at an auction, remember you have to bring a mechanic with you.
Have fun shopping. Buying a used car can be a great way to save money — if you do your homework before you buy.
Do you have any good tips to share?