Buying a Used Car?

A lot of used cars are sold “AS IS”.  This literally means “AS IS” and starts as soon as you sign the papers.  The key is to know what you are getting into before you sign the purchase agreement.  Use the checklist below to help in your search:

  • Once you have narrowed your selection down to a particular car, you may wish to pay an independent, certified mechanic to give you an in depth inspection of the car BEFORE you purchase it.  Even if the news is not great from the mechanic, you may be able to negotiate paying a lower price for the car so that you can get the repairs done and still be within your budget.  Use this knowledge as a bargaining tool.

  • If the CARFAX is not offered, you can look at that on your own.  Just make sure that you have the VIN number of the car that you are interested in.

  • If a warranty is offered, familiarize yourself with what is covered and what is not covered.  2 common types of warranties include Powertrain and bumper-to-bumper.  Powertrain warranties cover specific parts of the car that are considered the most important. The parts included in this are the transmission, the engine, and other parts of the car’s powertrain. Bumper-to-bumper coverage offers a greater amount of coverage because it covers the most parts of the car. Usually when provided a list detailing the coverage, you will receive a list of parts that are excluded.

  • Never feel pressured to sign a contract before you feel comfortable understanding what you are signing.

  • If the seller does not allow you to take the car on a test drive or take the car to a mechanic of your choice, consider that a red flag.

  • Make sure that ANYTHING and EVERYTHING a salesperson tells you he will do is in writing, AND is part of the contract.  This includes any repairs, missing keys or owner’s manual-anything that you are told you will receive should be part of the purchase agreement.  If the seller is unwilling to put it in writing as part of the contract, that may be a red flag as well.

  • Do your homework before you make your purchase.  Check other sources beside the seller to see if that particular model of car has had a history of problems and what those problems are.

  • Check to see what that particular car in the same shape with the same mileage is being sold for.

  • Check with the BBB to see if the dealership has had any complaints and what they are.

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About Christine Hayley

I started with BBB|Cincinnati in 1997 as a Co-Op. Today I am the Dispute Resolution Director.