Mastering the Used Car Buying Process

Mastering the Used Car Buying Process

Buying used cars can sometimes feel like a leap of faith. You shop around, find the perfect vehicle and it just happens to fit in your budget, but then you might start to wonder if it’s all just too perfect. Is there something wrong with it that you can’t see? Is the engine really as strong as it seems? And, of course, there’s the question of how many miles are really on the car. If this happens to you, take a look at how you can ensure your used car purchase is the right one.

Get the Vehicle History Report

When shopping for used cars, one of the most important sources of information is the vehicle history report. This is the Carfax or the AutoCheck report. If you shop at a dealership, it is often offered as a complimentary item. This report will give you the entire history of the vehicle, from its maintenance records to the number of owners and where it was located when purchased and sold. It will also tell you if it’s ever been in an accident.

Get Your Hands on the Title

You want to see the title when you purchase a used car. This should help prevent any surprises that could come up after it’s too late. Make sure the seller has the title and take a close look at it. Check for any indication of flood damage or if it’s been totaled. If the dealer or seller doesn’t have the title, it should be a red flag, and maybe you should move on.

Don’t Skip the Test Drive

You always want to take a potential car out for a test drive. There are a few reasons for this. First, it gives you an idea of the overall condition of the car. If it doesn’t start right away when you turn the key, there might be a problem.

If it starts right up, you can then check a few things. Rev the engine while it’s in part to see what kind of power it has. When you head out on the road, listen for noises, check the dashboard lights, and check all the amenities, including the air conditioning, the radio, the heat, and all the lights.

Check for and Research Any Recalls

Before buying a used car, you want to check to see if there are any open recalls on it. You can go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website and enter the VIN of the vehicle you’re considering. If you find any recalls, check to make sure they were taken care of. You’ll want to ask for receipts to show that they were done or go to a dealership for the brand of vehicle and have someone there check the VIN. They can verify if the recall work was completed.

Buying used cars instead of new can save you money. You just have to do your homework to make sure you are getting a good deal and one that’s not too good to be true.


This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning a commission is given should you decide to make a purchase through these links, at no cost to you. All products shown are researched and tested to give an accurate review for you.

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