to Buying a Used Car With Confidence
(ARA) - Industry statistics show that almost three times as many
people buy used cars as buy new.
To help consumers make informed decisions in the process, the
experts at CarMax, America's leading used car retailer, have put
together a basic list of the things to check when buying a used
Check the vehicle's safety features.
Consider a vehicle with air bags and anti-lock brakes. Not only
will they make a car safer, but insurance companies sometimes give
discounts on their rates for cars with these features.
2. Inspect the mileage.
Mileage is a good indicator of the vehicle's age, and the average
consumer will drive from 12,000 miles to 15,000 miles each year.
A late model used car may be more cost-effective and come with many
features you may not be able to afford in a new car.
3. Check the mechanical condition of the vehicle.
If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, have a mechanic
you trust check it for you. Fluids, lights, belts, power steering,
the charging system, the air conditioner, the engine cooling system,
the brakes and the suspension should all be carefully inspected
for any defects and wear. And don't forget to test drive the car.
4. Examine the tires.
Uneven tread wear can be a sign that the car may need an alignment,
or that it has damage to its suspension. Make sure the spare tire
is in working condition with no damage or excessive wear.
5. Watch for frame damage.
Seriously damaged cars may be repaired, re-titled and sold in
some cases, masking a vehicle that may not be structurally sound.
When looking at a used car, check for:
-- rust around the fenders and bumpers, around lights, under doors
and in wheel wells
-- cracks, dents and mismatched body panels
Cars that have been previously damaged may be more likely to have
mechanical problems, and do not withstand accidents as well as cars
that are structurally sound.
6. Check for cosmetic problems.
Common signs of wear and tear in used cars include cigarette burns,
dirty upholstery, smoke stains, and paint scratches and chips.
7. Carefully read and understand the terms of any warranty offered
on the car.
Don't hesitate to ask questions of your salesperson, and be wary
of hidden conditions and exclusions that may be in the fine print.
A reputable dealer will answer your questions completely and explain
the details of the warranty.
8. Check the price.
The actual price of the car is only one of many factors that will
determine your total price. Don't forget to compare financing rates,
warranty costs, trade-in values and processing fees. The different
features on the vehicle can also make a price difference. For example,
a car with an automatic transmission is usually going to be slightly
higher in price than the same car with a manual transmission. Research
the vehicle you are considering, and find out what comparable prices
are for similar vehicles in your area.
9. Look for a reputable dealership.
Ask around, and talk to previous customers of the dealer to find
out what their experiences were like. A good dealer is more likely
to be fair and up-front in price, value and condition of its vehicles,
and won't pressure you to buy a vehicle you don't want. Hassles
should never be part of buying a used car. Be prepared, and know
what you're looking for.
Courtesy of ARA Content, www.ARAcontent.com,