How To Buy A Used Car

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Transcript of How To Buy A Used Car

  • 1.


  • Reliability
  • Safety
  • Gas mileage
  • Options

There has never been a better time to buy a used car: 3.

  • 1993 GEO METRO XFI
  • $1,000-$3,000
  • 2008 SMART CAR
  • $12,000-$18,000


  • Determine your transportation needs
  • Have a clear idea of the amount of money you would like to spend
  • Do some research, some cars are more expensive to maintain than others
  • Decide if you would like shop for a car at a dealer,private party, or both


  • Good selection with many cars in one place
  • Financing may be available
  • A mechanic is usually onsite
  • If you have problems after the sale it may be easier to get restitution from a dealer


  • Price: if a seller wants to make a quick sale you may be able to get a good deal
  • You may be able to purchase from the original owner
  • You get the chance to question the owner on his or her driving habits
  • You may have access to service records


  • 100-point used car check list
  • Paper, pencil, and calculator
  • Flashlight
  • Magnet
  • Paper towels
  • CD or tape


  • Make sure body lines are straight
  • Make sure panels align evenly
  • Look for mismatched paint colors
  • Look for warping and excessive corrosion
  • Doors should open and close smoothly
  • Check tires for signs of uneven wear
  • Check for damaged to CV boots, leaking shocks , bent frame or paint overspray
  • Use a magnet to check for body filler

9. 10. 11.

  • Look under hood for excessive dirt and grime and signs of leaks


  • Check the oil at normal operating temperature


  • Check coolantusing a hydrometer


  • With the engine warm checkthe transmission fluid dipstick


  • Have someone else start the engine then observe the output of the tailpipe


  • Check all electrical components and make sure they are all working
  • Turn on the heat and make sure the heater blows hot air
  • Check the acceleration it should be smooth
  • Listen for clunking or delayed engagement, both signs of a failing transmission
  • Check the steering by letting go of the wheel, the car should stay on a relatively straight bead on a flat stretch, listen for noise during turns
  • Mix your route between city, highway, and suburban roads, bumpy roads will give your shocks and struts a test run

17. 18.

  • There are really only two kinds of used cars based on overall use : the In-Town Car and the Commuter Car
  • In-Town cars are driven primarily in stop and go traffic
  • Commuter cars are driven primarily on the highway
  • Always look for Commuter Cars and avoid In-Town cars


  • Inspect the trunk for wear, damage, and staining
  • Inspect the backseats and carpets for food stains
  • Check for missing buttons on radio or other controls, broken air vents, and chewing gum in the ashtray
  • Look for excessive wear on door panels


  • Any car with over 200,000 miles
  • Salvage title
  • Fleet vehicles
  • Steering Problems
  • Transmission Problems
  • Excessive engine noise
  • Oil, coolant, or transmission leaks
  • Heavy smoke from the exhaust
  • Electrical components that dont work
  • Metal shavings on or near engine


  • With out a doubt, having a mechanic inspect your vehicle is thebestway to protect yourself from buying a lemon
  • Dilemma: at $50 to $100 per inspection this can cut into your car buying budget
  • Also, some problems may not be evident at the time of the inspection


  • Dealers are out to make money selling a car, selling your trade-in, and financing the deal
  • If you have a trade-in avoid negotiating a price until the final price for your new car is finalized
  • Always check the Kelly Blue Book value .Most cars will fall into the good category
  • Most dealers useR etailI nstallmentS alesC ontracts or RISCs which have notoriously high interest rates and late payment penalties


  • If you need to finance have yourownfinancing approved before you go shopping. A loan from a credit union is a usually the best option
  • Before you go shopping be sure to get a free copy of your credit report


  • The state of Michigan has no Lemon Law in regard to used cars
  • Cars bought from a private party are sold as is no warranty
  • Cars bought at a dealer can be sold as is no warranty or may come with a limited warranty


  • Well pay off your trade no matter how much you owe!
    • What they will do is put what you owe on your trade-in on top of the amount you are financing for your car purchase at a no-so-hot interest rate. The monthly payment seems manageable because it has been stretched out to 60-70 months
    • Dealer Prep Fees
    • You must pay this amount for prep fees to clean the car, fill any fluid and do a safety check.Although not illegal these fees are certainly unethical, check for dealer prep fees before you sign


  • The Bait and Switch
    • A dealer advertises several used cars at great prices.You come to the dealer requesting the cheap car.The dealer says those sold out quickly, but you should look at ______a comparable car at a higher price
    • Packing the Contract
    • This occurs when the dealer includes unwanted and unnecessary add-ons into the sales contractsuch as protective spray coatings for undercarriage, etc.Read the fine print
    • Lying about trade-in value
    • If your trade-in has fewer than 100,000 miles and few flaws the dealer should offer you something close to blue book


  • The dealer may tell you that you need to purchase Gap insurance in order to take the car home.Chances are you are already covered under your current policy, call your insurance company to verify
  • The spot delivery scam occurs when a dealerattempts to make more money from the sale by saying your original finance contract was rejected.You must take the car back and reapply for financing (at a higher interest rate)




  • Tire rotation
  • Oil change
  • Coolant flush and fill
  • Air and cabin filter change
  • Transmission fluid change
  • Use the librarys car careresources available on ourwebpage

Once you bring your new care home youll want to take care of some routine maintenance: