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Educational Consumer Tips

BUYING A USED VEHICLE

Author: Better Business Bureau
Published:

Check newspaper ads and used car guides at a local library so you know what's a fair price for the car you want. Remember, prices are negotiable. You can also look up repair recalls for car models you might be considering. Call the Auto Safety Hotline at (800) 424-9393 to get recall information on a car. Authorized dealers of that make of vehicle must do recall work for free no matter how old the car is. Shop during the daylight hours so that you can thoroughly inspect the car and take a test drive. Don't forget to check all the lights, air conditioner, heater, and other parts of the electrical system. Have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic of your choice. Do a title search on the auto to see if its been salvaged. Ask questions about the previous ownership and mechanical history of the car. Contact the former owner to find out if the car was in an accident or had any other problems. Check with the DMV to find out what you need in order to register the car. Don't sign anything that you don't understand. Read all documents carefully. Negotiate the changes you want and get them written into the contract. Get all warranties in writing. Keep copies of all paperwork. Your should be aware that most cars are sold "AS-IS" - which means that any necessary repairs will be your responsibility, not the car dealer's. Never rely on verbal statements made by salespersons. Contracts should always be completely filled out.