Used Car Buying Tips

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A new car may not be worth all that money you are planning on spending!

If you are on a really tight budget, and don?t care too much about the prestige of having a brand new car, purchasing a used car might be the best option for you.

Why do we say that might be the better option? All you have to do is pick up a used car listing to see that brand new cars lose anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of their original price in as little as two years.

That?s a pretty steep number. Here?s another number, 65 percent ? this is the amount you save if you buy a used car that is five years old instead of a brand new one.

Of course, you cannot discount the possibility that the used car you are looking at is not in the best of conditions. You will likely invest some time in your search. Be smart, take the proper measures to make sure you get a good deal, and be willing to walk away.

After surveying used cars to purchase when you have located the one?s you like consult the following tips.

1. Research the VIN number in a look-up for any car history service issues or other major defects. Having this information will give you great negotiation power, and it may save you a trip and $1,000's in future repairs of a lemon!

2. Research the vehicle in any popular recall search (MAP has one here)

3. Check the Exterior - The first thing to look at is the overall condition of the car?s body and finish. Look out for paint blotches and poor body fit. Also look for body filler. You may want to use a simple magnet to help you pinpoint suspicious spots. 

4. Check Suspension - Go to each corner of the car and push down on them. If the car bounces more than once, you may need to have shocks or struts installed. 

5. Check the Insides of the Car - Make sure the carpet, upholstery, interior odor, and condition of the car?s interior are acceptable and in line with the age of the car.

6. Take It for a Spin - Have a friend observe you while you take the car for test drive. The car should be stable and should not show signs of shifting from side to side. If so, there could be a major problem with the frame or suspension.

7. Get a Professional Opinion - Unless you know a lot about cars, and their engines, it may be worth the expense to have a car mechanic take a look at the car. A $100 expense, could save you $1000?s!

After taking the above steps, if the deal does not look as good as it initially did then the deal is not as good as you first thought. On the contrary, if the car is clean, and you like it, you just may have a winner on your hands!