As with any large purchase, buying a new car can be a strenuous task. Buying a used car can make the process seem women driving careven more difficult. But if done the right way, purchasing a used car does not have to drive you up a wall.
Know what you want. Before you start shopping, make a list of your desired car features, the maximum mileage and age you prefer, and price range.
Ask around. Talk with friends and family about the types of cars you are interested in and get their advice. They may also suggest where to buy from if they have experience in purchasing used cars.
Explore your options. Check out used car dealerships and websites such as Carmax.com to see what vehicles they offer and at what prices. Also check out private sellers (many used car sellers have postings in the local newspaper that you can look into) and auctions.
Double-check prices. Once you’ve found a few cars that you are interested in, use websites such as Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book to make sure the price the seller has listed is a fair price for the make, model, and year of the car.
Inspect and test drive. Go to the dealer or private owner’s house to take a look at the car and test it out – and always meet in a public area. Check for any damage and ask questions about the car’s condition, and ask for a CARFAX history report. Be especially careful if the car is sold ‘as is.’ This means that what you see is what you get when you pay for it, so make sure you are completely satisfied with what you see.
Read before you sign. When you have decided on a car, be sure to read through the agreement thoroughly before you sign anything or pay anyone. Again, be sure that the car and pricing is exactly what you want and need before you buy it.
Sign first, pay second. Do not pay anyone until you have the car’s signed title in your hand. Pay by check, not cash.
Once the car is in your name, notify your insurance company, get your new tags, and do whatever else is needed to get your car on the road. Make any repairs you may want or need, and make sure the car has passed inspections so that it is ready to drive.