Purchasing a used car can be a daunting experience. Since it's not a new car, you may not know the complete history of the car. While purchasing a used car from a dealer can be a little more reassuring, you are taking an even bigger chance when purchasing your used car from a private party. There are certain measures, however, that you can take to make sure your used car will be a great purchase.
Vehicle History Report
There are a number of agencies where you can get a vehicle history report on your car. These reports will give you any service records, any repairs done on the car and if the car has been in an accident.
Be cautious, however, because not all vehicle history reports are completely accurate. For example, if the car has been in an accident, but was not reported to the insurance agency, then there will be no record of that accident. Service and maintenance centers may not always report the service records of the cars they maintain.
The main thing to understand is that a vehicle history report may give you most of the history of your car, but it may not be the complete history. It can serve as a conversation starter when asking about the car.
Check Out Mechanical Issues
Make sure that you carefully check out the car from bumper to bumper for mechanical issues. If you are not mechanically savvy, get a certified mechanic to look at it for you. You may also have someone you trust that would also be willing to do it. A certified mechanic may charge a small fee for this service, but it is worth it if you are seriously considering the vehicle.
If a dealership or a private party is not willing to let you bring the car to a mechanic of your choosing, then that is a big red flag and you should consider walking away.
Buying From a Dealership
Make sure the dealership you are buying from is reputable. Get a report from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to check if the dealership is a reliable business that treats its customers honestly and fairly. Also, get the word on the street from friends and co-workers of the best places to buy a used car.
Buying From a Private Party
Make sure that you have all of the paperwork necessary if you are buying from a private party. They should have a clear title on hand that is signed over to you. Both parties will also need to fill out and sign a Bill of Sale that states the vehicle's information, mileage and purchase price. You will need this paper work when registering your vehicle at the local tax office.
Article courtesy of Tony Rastegarpour, who has been working in the automotive industry for the last 30 years. He currently runs an automotive called http://www.cashfortrucks.com.