Tips on Buying a Used Car
The Federal Trade Commission's Used Car Rule requires all sellers of used cars (except private owners) to place a "Buyers Guide" in the window. The Buyer's Guide tells whether the vehicle comes with a warranty and, if so, which systems are covered, how long coverage applies, and what percent of repair costs the dealer will pay. The Buyer's Guide also alerts you when a car is being sold with implied warranties only, or with no warranty at all ("as is"). Once you complete a purchase of a car "as is" and drive it off the lot, the dealer has no further responsibilities for the car. Be sure to sign the Buyers Guide and request a copy for your records.
Prior to signing a contract 1) Check the exterior. Misaligned body panels or differences in paint shade are signs that the car has been in an accident. 2) Inspect the interior. Upholstery or carpeting stains and a moldy smell are signs of a water leak. 3) Look under the car. Oil or coolant drips could indicate that there's a serious problem. 4) Have a mechanic inspect the car: take the car to a reliable shop or auto diagnostic center and have the mechanic give it a once-over. You will have to pay for this service, but the money you invest up front may save you many more dollars down the road. Ask for a written estimate of the cost to repair any problems the mechanic finds and use that as a bargaining chip when you make an offer on the car. Prior to signing a contract, test drive the actual car that you are buying (not one just like it), look it over in the day time, check the car out at www.carfax.com to ensure that the car has not been involved in an accident, check pricing guides such as the NADA guide (www.nada.org), get a signed statement verifying the mileage at the time of sale, and above all take the time to read and understand the entire written agreement. "When in doubt, check it out!"