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Five Must-do Steps when Shopping for a Used Car

Buying a new car is virtually risk-free, but the same can’t be said for used vehicles. We all know a friend or relative who had terrible luck with a used car. Maybe it had a lot of issues—or worse, it was a total lemon.
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Credit Jeremy Alan Glover

Buying a new car is virtually risk-free, but the same can’t be said for used vehicles. We all know a friend or relative who had terrible luck with a used car. Maybe it had a lot of issues—or worse, it was a total lemon. Maybe they were tricked by false mileage that inflated the sale price. Here are some tips that can help you.

  • Do some research into the type of vehicle you’re looking for. There are plenty of used-car websites that will tell you about common problems and recalls. Armed with this information, you’ll be in a better position to make a smart purchase because you’ll know exactly what to check first. And never skip the mechanical inspection.
  • Set a firm budget. This will help you keep your cool if you fall in love with a vehicle that’s selling for a lot more than you expected. Which takes us to the following point…
  • Never make an impulse purchase. You could close the deal too soon and, more importantly, forget some very important steps. Take the time to think it over—the 24-hour rule is tried and true. Resist pressure from the seller, even if they tell you that another customer is interested in the same vehicle.
  • Go for a certified car. Numerous dealerships offer vehicles with a history report and documented mileage. It’s not a 100% guarantee, but it does make for a safer bet.
  • If you’re tempted by a luxury car at a relatively low price, keep in mind that these vehicles generally have higher insurance rates and maintenance costs, not to mention more expensive replacement parts. This is even truer for exotic vehicles.


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