Dos and Don’ts for Buying a Used Car

buying a used car

Buying a new car can be a nightmare. But if you approach buying a car logically, this will not be a problem.

However, the most practical thing to do is to buy a used car from a trusted dealer. This can be a dealer that specializes in a particular brand of new car. Any car it receives in exchange for one of its new vehicles will be thoroughly checked over. There shouldn’t be any problems with any one that has bought a used car from these dealerships, as it would reflect badly on the company if people were to start complaining.

In this regard, maybe you should buy a used car from a dealer that specializes in a specific brand.

General Car Dealerships

You can find a lot of good information and a guide to buying a used car online by using search engines. Remember to look for your specific country.

Points to Look For

There will be dealers out there that are basically sharks. They may be great with the “talk.” However later, you could well find that the car you have bought was rusting through the bottom. They might have painted over this to hide it. Alternatively, after a long run, the engine starts misfiring, or there is a strange “judder” coming from the crank shaft. They know that after your “test run” of the car, all of this would not have been detected.

At worse, your car could be “fenced”. That is, it could be a stolen car that has been re-sprayed and the number plates changed.

Know the Law

In general, when you buy a used car, there should be a history. If the used car is fairly new, then it may still be under a warranty, which comes with a document. In addition, there should also be a full record of the used car’s past: previous owners, routine maintenance checks, any accidents that may have happened, repairs, etc. There must be a vehicle identification number (VIN), which comes along with the make, year and model of the car.

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) direct hot line, 1-888-327-4236, that can be used to validate the VIN number, can be contacted. Alternatively, you can enter the VIN into the official web site www.safecar.gov, to see if there are any problems.

Car Recall

This happens when a manufacturer or a government agency recalls a car that was found to be defective. Please note that under the US Federal Law, a dealer is not required to repair a recalled vehicle.

The Automobile’s History

In the United States, there are a number of independent bodies that can help you check the value of your potential purchase. These include the Kelley Blue Book and guides from the National Automotive Dealers Association.

What Needs to be Checked

A reputable general dealer or a specific car dealership must check all of the following key areas when you wish to buy a used car:

• Check all the tires including the spare. Look at the wear across the tire to see if it is even. If not, then the car is out of balance. Check the tire treads to see if it is sufficient and if it covers legal requirements.
• Look at the overall balance of the car. If it is tilting on one side, there may be a problem with the suspension.
• Drive belts inside the engine should not be cracked. The radiator hose should be hard.
• There should not be any leaks in the head gasket. A leak can be seen when residual foam is present in the oil filter.

Use Reputable Companies for Checking

Organizations, such as the AAA in the United States, will give you a list of reliable mechanics and dealers who can check your vehicle and will give you an independent opinion.

You can come across a good deal through word of mouth, or by using a web guide to buy a used car.
However, exercise caution and make sure everything is checked out first.

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