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Five Steps To Buy A Used Car

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Five Steps To Buy A Used Car

Levi Quinn
March 26, 2011

Levi Quinn

If you're planning on buying a used car you want to make sure you make the right decision for you. The good news is when you decide to purchase a used car you can easily find out the history behind it. You'll want to do a good amount of research to discover what used car is right for you before you decide to buy. You can narrow down the amount of information that a used car search will return by following the five steps below.

1. Choose the right car for you and keep an open mind. Consider a variety of options as you embark upon the buying process. This may be hard to do but its better in the long run because you'll find the best fit for you. Expand your options by starting the search with one car to search and add two or three similar makes or models that fall in the price range that you are looking for. For example, if you want a Toyota Corolla also research the Honda Civic or Hyundai Sonata.

2. Research, Research, Research. By choosing multiple models to work with you've heavily decreased your workload. However, you need to get a lot of background information on these cars. Check out their true market values, get Carfax reports on them, research what kind of warranty is best for the particular car and so on.

3. Be Realistic. Yes, we all want our dream car but now may not be the right time. Consider what you can truly afford and be comfortable with the monthly payments. You don't want to put all your extra money into buying a used car in case an emergency or something of that magnitude comes up. Before you shop have a clear understanding of your budget. How much can you afford to pay monthly for this car and how much can you put down right now on the car? Don't stray from these figures because you don't want future problems down the road.

4. Where are you going to shop for your used car? There are several options to solve this problem including car classifieds online or in print, car dealerships and private sellers. You should realize the advantages and disadvantages to each. While a private seller may offer the lowest price you usually won't receive any kind of warranty from purchasing your car with them. If you decide to buy from a dealership you may have to pay a higher price for the car you want. However, most used cars at dealerships are certified and come with a warranty. If you find yourself unhappy with your car purchase, a dealership will be much more accommodating than a private seller. If you decide to go the classifieds route be sure to contact the seller before inspecting the car and ask important questions upfront before taking the trip to speak with them.

5. Always test drive a used car you're interested in! Test driving a car will let you know if the car is right for you in a number of ways. Does the car provide you with a good fit, are you comfortable in it? Test drive the car in areas where you usually drive. If you tend to drive on highways, take the highway. If you go in and out of residential areas multiple times a day, drive it around neighborhoods.

By following these steps throughout the used car buying process, you are more likely to feel satisfied and self assured with your overall purchase.

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