Tips for buying used cars
Whether you are buying from a dealer or a private party, you have to be careful and vigilant. Read these 10 tips before you buy:
You don't have to be a mechanic to find damage to the car. Make sure that you check the car inside, outside and below
Check the engine for oil or coolant leaks. Check the engine for dirt. Is the oil level low and is the dipstick too dark? Make sure that the engine shows that proper maintenance work has been done regularly. There should be no smoke, warning lights, steam or sounds when you run the engine.
Check the transmission for problems like time between shifting the gears. Is there any trouble between shifting like a shudder or shiver?
Check the manual transmission to make sure that the car has no leaks, noises, trouble while changing gears, or while moving the clutch etc.
Inquire about the reason for the sale. Most private owners will sell the car when they have a second, better model or when the car has been in an accident. This means that the car might be pretty good or really bad. As a private owner, you are buying the car "as-is". That means you cannot object if there are problems with the car later on so ask questions!
Find out what type of title the car hold: Clean title, Rebuilt title, Salvage Title.
Check the history of the car on CarFax using the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to find out car's history like failed emissions tests, rolled back odometers, flooding, number of owners of the car and more. Ask the seller, they may already have these reports available.
Make sure that the engine starts properly and that there are no vibrations and sounds. Apply the brakes and then start and stop the car. Check the speedometer and the odometer to make sure that all is working properly.
If you like the car, bring an independent car mechanic with you to check out the car on a second day. Or ask if you may take it to your preferred mechanic.
Second hand car dealers are more likely to sell you good cars but they might try to add substantial processing fees and warranties, so be sure to shop around to find the best deal.