Finding the Best Used Car Deal Available

On average, a car in the US accrues between 10,000 and 15,000 miles a year. Most new cars are used for 4 or 5 years and then resold or traded in for a newer car. It’s likely you’ll find that most used cars for sale have surpassed the 60,000 mile mark. Nonetheless, mileage is not the defining guide for buying a good used car. Although the mileage may be high, the car’s condition can only be determined by the kind of owner it had and the way it was used. Do the following things before you buy.

Ask For VINs

With this information, you can get a vehicle history report, check for odometer fraud, verify the car’s legal status and see if it has been in a major accident or fire, been stolen, or suffered flood damage.

Research the Make and Model

Check reviews, recalls, insurance cost, safety ratings, fuel-efficiency numbers and maintenance costs. To get an idea of which makes are toughest, check this out.

Ask for Maintenance Records

Periodic maintenance is fundamental to keeping a car in tip-top shape. A good sign that the owner has taken good care of the car is a stack of receipts that prove he or she has followed a service schedule. Sometimes a history report, such as a Carfax report, can shed light on the situation but it can’t always reveal the whole picture.

Call an Expert

The car may seem fine, but it’s what’s under the hood that counts. Take it to your mechanic or a shop you trust and ask them to do a thorough checkup. This may cost time and money but it could save you even more money…and headaches.

Talk to the Seller

Ask as many questions as you can. If there’s any hesitation or beating around the bush, it might be a sign that the seller is hiding information from you. Be vigilant.

Take it for a Spin

The test drive is perhaps the most important part of buying a used car. For tips, read How to Do a Test Drive.

Get Quotes

An easy way to find out if a seller is fair is to get quotes and compare them to the market value of the car, which you can find at websites like kbb.com. If the two figures are far apart, you’ll know you need to do more negotiation. In some cases, they might be so far apart that you’ll decide not to contact the seller at all. Click here to get quotes easily, online.


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