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YLocale Guide To Buying a Used Car

We all know that there is a certain joy to purchasing a brand new car. Knowing that you are the first owner, and that your automobile has the most up-to-date components and is covered by the manufacturer's warranty makes a lot of people feel great. However we also know that as soon as you drive a new car off the dealer's lot, it loses about 10% of its value right away. Alternatively, purchasing a 2-year old car might very well result in you owning a pretty good car for a significant savings.

But there are dangers as well. One of the reasons why people pay a premium for new cars is the knowledge that the car has not been owned before, and so should not have been in any accidents or other damaging situations. For a used car there are many more unknowns, and this makes the process a bit trickier.

Step 1: Should You Buy A Used Car?

Perhaps the first step is to ask yourself whether you do really want a new car. Are you willing to do the extra homework to make sure you are making a good used car purchase? Are you willing to accept the risks, knowing that even with a little detective work you aren't going to learn the complete history of the vehicle in question? If so, proceed!

Step 2: Which Car To Buy

You probably already have in mind roughly what kind of automobile you are looking for. But if not, now is the time to narrow down your selection. It's a good idea to think about how the car will be used. Will this be a commuting vehicle? Or will it only be used once in a while? Will it need to have a lot of trunk space to haul large, heavy equipment? Does it need lots of passenger room so the kids and their friends can all ride along? How important is gas mileage? Do you have a preference for the manufacturer?

With the answers to these questions, you can begin to narrow down your choices. Note that the cars from some manufacturers, such as Toyota and Honda, tend to be higher priced than reliable models from other manufacturers. Once you have a rough idea of the kind of car you're interested in, you can then proceed to working out what price range you are looking for.

Step 3: Where To Find Used Cars

There are a variety of sources you can use to find used cars. You may even see some near where you live. The company you work for may have a place, either physical or on the company intranet, for employees with a car to sell to connect with those looking to buy. You could also visit a used car sales dealership.

But going online is definitely a good way to have access to a huge number of used cars for sale right at your fingertips. Your local newspaper's website probably has a classified ads section, and you can check there for used car sales. Websites such as cars.com have a large listing of used cars available. Edmunds.com also has a used-car inventory page and helpful tips. You can also try sites such as eBayMotors and Craigslist.

Step 4: Get the Vehicle History

No matter whether you are purchasing from an individual seller, an online site, or a used car lot, you should check the vehicle's history. There are a number of sites that allow you to check a car's history by its VIN (Vehicle Identification) number. AutoCheck and CarFax are two popular sites that allow you to do these checks. If you are having trouble getting the VIN number from the seller, this could be a sign that they are trying to hide something, and it is recommended that you pass on that seller.

Step 5: Contacting and Negotiating

Once you have a handful of choices, you can contact the sellers to see the car in person. This will allow you to make a better determination of the condition of the vehicle. If the car still seems appealing you can ask to take the car on a test drive; after all, there is only so much you can learn about a car just by looking at it.

It is recommended that you not negotiate on the price until you see the car in person, so you can take into account the condition of the vehicle. While an in-depth discussion of negotiating strategies is beyond the scope of this guide, perhaps the most important aspect is to be well-informed about the car and similar models before you begin negotiations. You can look in books and websites for advice on how to negotiate if you are not an experienced negotiator. The CarBuyingTips website has some pointers on negotiating for a used car purchase.

Step 6: Completing the Deal

Once everything is in order and a price is agreed on, you can complete your purchase. If you are buying from a dealership, there is probably a fixed procedure and a lot of forms that you will go through. However, even if you're purchasing from an individual, you should make sure that you have all the paperwork that is needed, including at least the title and insurance for yourself. This Edmunds.com article on closing the deal as well as this CarBuyingTips Used Car Bill of Sale form may be helpful to guide you through the process.

Depending on how comfortable you feel about your new car, you may also consider purchasing an extended warranty for the automobile. You can see if your dealer offers an extended warranty, and also check third-parties such as CarChex and Warranty Direct.

With enough research and information, you will soon be driving a car that you know is in good shape, right for you, and a much better price/performance ratio than you would have achieved with a new car. Best of luck!

This information has not been verified by YLocale and may not be reliable. Please use at your own risk.

Factual Places data © Factual Inc. (http://www.factual.com).

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