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What should you look at when buying a used car

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Follow Us. While a used car can be a sensible option, buyers still need to make smart choices. Inspect both the outside and inside of the vehicle. CARFAX also recommends checking to see that body panels line up evenly, as uneven panels may indicate the vehicle was in an accident but not repaired well. If you notice overspray or mismatched paint, that part was likely repaired and repainted. Inspect the interior by sitting in all the seats and looking for unusual wear and tear in the upholstery, says CARFAX.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: What is a Good Deal when Buying a Used Car? (How to Buy a Used Car)

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How to Inspect a Used Car for Purchase

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Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others. However, the real challenge is the purchase process — the act of matching mechanical and financial wits with the salesperson and driving off into the sunset without getting suckered. The ideal used car is not the cheapest one you can scrape off your local dealership or get from a private seller on Craigslist. If its fuel efficiency is poor and it requires heavy maintenance work every other month, then your finances are in for a rough ride.

When shopping used, your goal is to find a decently performing car that fits within your budget — and that budget should account not just for the car itself but for operating costs, maintenance costs, warranties, and so on. A used car can either turn out to be a blessing or a nightmare — so to avoid the latter, here are signs to watch out for.

Misaligned body panels are one of the most commonly observed imperfections in used cars. However, what many sellers try to pass off as minor surface irregularities could be masking something a lot more sinister, such as a major car accident.

For instance, a used car with a CAPA Certified Automotive Parts Association sticker on one of its parts is a clear sign that the car has undergone collision repair for that part. More obvious issues, such as dents and structural kinks, are easier to spot on the car body.

Upon closer inspection, if you notice any irregularities in width between the seams lining the car doors, fenders, or hood, then it surely means that the car has seen worse days than what the salesman claims, and may not be worth the price or risk of ownership.

Sellers may try to oversell the luxurious outer appearance of a used car to entice buyers. However, they might also be trying to cover up poor interior comfort and design. If there are rips, stains, or cracks that cannot be easily fixed, then you may need to look for another used car. Analyzing reviews and model pictures of a car when it was new can give you a good idea about its original interior design and the extent of its deterioration. On the other hand, brand new upholstery is also something to be wary of because it may be an attempt to cover up water damage.

They often carry the burden of a huge down payment and a high APR, which can turn into a big financial liability for you down the line. Therefore, you should always shop around and research bank rates and local lender rates before signing your car loan.

Being a used car buyer, you need to keep your emotional and impulsive decisions in check. A little research and business savvy can help you strike the perfect bargain for your used car purchase. Remember, the customer is always king, so do not hesitate to make the seller play by your rules. A sound ballpark figure is the foundation of a productive negotiation between you and the seller.

Just like automakers, used car dealerships also like to advertise special rebates and cash back incentives on certified pre-owned cars to attract more customers. Before paying a visit to a dealership, research the incentives offered on its website to see which you qualify for. The average mileage on cars hovers around 10, per year. If you feel strange vibrations in the steering wheel, then there may be a problem in the front due to the steering linkage.

On the other hand, if you experience vibrations in the car seat, then there could be a problem in the back of the car, such as with a wheel bearing or the condition of a tire.

Check the car suspension by pushing down each fender and quickly letting go. It should rebound softly at least once or twice. Hence, you might experience excessive jerks and bounces even while traveling on smooth surfaces at moderate speeds. Additionally, if the suspension in the used car is worn out, then it is a lot more likely to leave behind uneven tire tread marks on the ground.

Customers tend to favor a smooth test drive as the ultimate performance measure for a used car, and they forget to inspect the little things that matter too. As far as exhaust smoke analysis goes, cloudy white or blue colored smoke patterns should be enough to send you looking for another car because of the costly damage they indicate. On the other hand, black or deep grey, or misty white smoke patterns are not such deal breakers since they indicate damage that can be fixed with low to moderate investment in repairs.

This can allow you to check the number of previous owners and failed inspections, and whether it has been salvaged or stolen. Unfortunately, the practice of car cloning has made it easier for sellers to fool customers. Car cloning essentially means stealing the license plate off one vehicle and placing it onto a different, unconnected vehicle. Therefore, if there are any fines or liabilities associated with the licensed number plate, the owner of the cloned car becomes answerable for the illegality.

Believe it or not, used car scams are far from uncommon, and a little vigilance can go a long way in helping you score the right deal. The last thing you want on your plate is a piece of portable junk that pinches your debt-squeezed account harder. Even if you do not possess exceptional mechanical knowledge, you can still do a little research in advance before heading to a used car dealership to figure out what you need and what you should avoid. All Rights Reserved. Sign in. Forgot your password?

Get help. Password recovery. Money Crashers. About Money Crashers. Recent Stories. Read more. Advertiser Disclosure X Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card and banking offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies and banks from which MoneyCrashers. Prashant Bajpai. Views Shares Share This Article. Join Our Facebook Group. Dig Deeper.

Follow MoneyCrashers. Trending Articles. Become a Money Crasher! Join our community. Share this Article. Misaligned Body Parts Misaligned body panels are one of the most commonly observed imperfections in used cars. Shady Interiors Sellers may try to oversell the luxurious outer appearance of a used car to entice buyers. Pushy Salespeople With Impulsive Negotiation Tricks Being a used car buyer, you need to keep your emotional and impulsive decisions in check. Manipulated Odometer Clocking The average mileage on cars hovers around 10, per year.

A car with low miles accrued is not likely to show heavy signs of superficial wear-and-tear. Worn out seat belt webbing, pedal rubbers, and steering wheel. More wear indicates a more heavily used — meaning driven — vehicle. Car service records can help you track the maintenance work done on it by the listed garages and confirm the mileage recorded during its last service. Tailpipe in Bad Condition Customers tend to favor a smooth test drive as the ultimate performance measure for a used car, and they forget to inspect the little things that matter too.

This is a result of condensation, and is no cause for panic. A sign of excessively rich air-fuel mixture due to a dirty air filter, a defective oxygen sensor, or mass-air meter moderate investment in repairs required. Blue Smoke. The result of oil burning extensive investment in repairs needed. Billowing White Smoke.

Water logging in combustion chamber due to a blown head gasket, or damaged cylinder head extensive investment in repairs needed. Final Word Believe it or not, used car scams are far from uncommon, and a little vigilance can go a long way in helping you score the right deal.

Have you ever gone used car shopping? What else should first-time customers watch out for? Buying a New Car vs. Prashant Bajpai Prashant Bajpai is an experienced writer and content marketing evangelist who enjoys blogging about technology, marketing, and money management.

As a certified stepchild of the Internet, he spends most of his time taking new courses and binge-watching documentaries and TV shows in his free time. He is planning to travel the world over the next few years. Next Up on Money Crashers. How do you know how much you should be saving, and at what ages, to reach your financial goals? While the answer varies from person to person, some universal rules apply. It used to be that when you wanted to find an apartment for rent, buy a used car, or pick up used, secondhand items Latest on Money Crashers.

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Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card and banking offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies and banks from which MoneyCrashers. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others. However, the real challenge is the purchase process — the act of matching mechanical and financial wits with the salesperson and driving off into the sunset without getting suckered.

Our definitive guide offers all the help you need to help you buy with confidence and get the right deal too. The following advice will cover every step of the car-buying journey from choosing where to buy from to what to check when you view the car to how to handle negotiations and your buyer's rights. We look through the advantages and disadvantages of different seller types, citing things to look out for and where to go to best suit your needs.

The trick to saving money is to buy a quality used car that has been lovingly maintained, so Digital Trends has put together basic advice to help you sniff out the right one. Who are we to give you buying tips? Cars are designed with a certain purpose in mind; figure out what you need one for. If needed, carefully reading reviews online and in magazines will help you choose.

Used car checklist: what to look for when buying a second-hand car

Buying used can be a great way to get on the road without the hefty price tag of a new vehicle. But, how do you know a pre-owned vehicle is everything it was chalked up to be in the online ad? The checklist below outlines what to look for when shopping for a used car through a private seller or dealer so you can make the purchase with peace of mind. Get as much information as you can from the current owner and then do your own research. Running the VIN vehicle identification number through a paid service like CARFAX will tell you if the car has been in an accident, if there are any liens on it, and if there are any recalls on the model. Take a walk around the car and keep an eye out for any rusty spots or paint chips. If there are places where the metal is totally rusted through, you might want to reconsider the purchase. Is the car sitting level on the ground? Is there anything hanging from the undercarriage? Pay close attention to the bumpers and look inside the trunk and hood for new bolts or warping that could indicate a recent accident.

11 Things to Check Before Buying a Used Car

Try again or Reset Password. Try again or Go Back and try Google or Facebook instead. Shopping for a used car can be stressful. Not only is it a big purchase, but you want a good deal on a safe and reliable vehicle that won't require expensive repairs. To help you out, here are 11 car-buying tips you should know before you head to the dealer.

The private marketplace for used cars can be a minefield, the right tips for buying a used car are invaluable when making a second-hand purchase.

If you're looking to buy a used car, you're far from alone. Between private-party and dealership sales, nearly 40 million used vehicles change hands each year. With so many choices, finding that one right car for you can be a challenge. So we've created a list of steps to help make finding and buying your perfect used car a breeze.

Uswitch guide to buying a used car

Finding a trouble-free used car has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with applying good research and investigative skills. Knowing how to spot potential problems and determining how reliable a used vehicle is can save you from expensive automotive headaches down the road. The following advice can help you to avoid a lemon and find a good value.

Naturally, there are still risks, and that applies whether you are buying from an independent trader or dealership, privately or from an approved main dealer. Nonetheless, combining our used car checklist with a bit of common sense and diligence means you can buy with confidence. How can we say that? The used car buying tips set out in our guide below will help to guarantee that unmissable used car deal is a genuine bargain. Only some of the points below are show-stoppers for your purchase. You can use the problem to your advantage by haggling money off the car, or insist that the seller fixes it before the sale.

Buying a used car - the ultimate checklist

The trick is telling minor faults from major ones. This is especially true with used cars. It does not require retailers to offer written warranties, though. If your used car comes with a written warranty, then this federal law will likely cover it. Six states currently have used-car lemon laws, and an additional few offer different consumer protections for used-car buyers—against deceptive sales practices, for instance. However, only true used-car lemon laws will net you a refund or replacement. Some laws are applied to dealership sales but not private sellers.

You are looking to establish the trustworthiness of the seller in advance of our next question. Does the car have a full service history? Can I see it? Provided the.

More here. Log in. Create an account. Loans Savings Credit Cards. From handy hints on how to spot if a car is stolen to alterations on the mileage, here's our essential list of questions to ask, and items to check when you're viewing a used car.

Purchasing a used car can seem confusing, and with so many things to consider, it can also feel overwhelming. Take the car for a test drive to see how it handles on the road. Tip: Check the exhaust with your finger when the engine is cool.

Sales : 02 Service : 02 Sales: 02 Service: 02 Sep 25, Community 0 comments. In the market for a new vehicle?

Buying a used car can be a great way of bagging a bargain — find out how to avoid the pitfalls and get a good deal.

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