Published On: Sat, Apr 28th, 2018

Buyer Beware: What To Look For In A Used Car

Rumors of a dying car market have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, 2016 saw a record number of cars purchased in the U.S. – the seventh straight year this record was set. This is also evident when you look at used car metrics, as some 40 million second-hand vehicles are purchased every year. But properly purchasing a used car goes well beyond the notion of walking onto a lot and selecting a ride. There are a few things you should consider before that transaction is finalized.

Used Car

Pre-Lot Work

It’s always a good idea to come to the used car lot equipped with a picture of what you want. Thanks to the internet, it’s relatively easy to not only find a car that pleases you visually, but also won’t give you headaches. There are several sites online that can provide you with detailed reports on various makes and models, providing a good assessment of which make good purchases and which cars should be avoided.

The FTC is Your Friend

When you do go to the used car lot, the Federal Trade Commission affords you the opportunity to get a more detailed look at the cars on display. That’s because the FTC requires dealers to place a Buyer’s Guide in every used vehicle they have. Traditionally stuck in the window, the guide must show specific information regarding what’s covered by warranty.

One of the phrases you may see in the guide is “as is.” When you see this, it means that the dealer does not have a guarantee on the vehicle’s condition after it’s been bought. It should be noted that many states don’t allow “as is” sales on cars over a certain price point.

Personal Inspection

Regardless of what the Buyer Guide might say, it’s important to give your car a thorough inspection on your own. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty here – digging into the minutiae of the car may allow you to spot things that you may not readily see. If you can talk a friend to go along with you and give you a second set of eyes, even better.

Ultimately, the process of buying a used car is a matter of research from start to finish. From doing a little homework in your pajamas at home to getting up close and personal to your potential purchase, gathering as much information as you can will allow you to make the most intelligent purchase possible. This will also go a long way into making you satisfied with your new “old” ride for years to come.