Buying Used – Do Your Homework

Many students opt to buy used — a used car is more affordable to buy, cheaper to insure, and often has more character.

But you need to do your homework when buying a used car.  Here are several tips to keep in mind:

  • Arrive to meet the seller 15 or 20 minutes prior to the agreed appointment time.  Sounds impolite, but you want to catch the seller if he or she is trying to cover up problematic areas at the last minute.
  • Feel the hood to see if the car has been running.  If there are problems cold-starting the vehicle, the seller may try and warm it up before you get there.
  • Wear cruddy clothes and don’t be afraid to get dirty, to reach under the hood and get down on the ground to check the undercarriage.
  • Test drive the vehicle.  Roll down a window and listen for anything strange.
  • BRING a checklist such as the one we’ve linked below.  If you don’t inspect the vehicle properly, you’re taking a big risk.  There are plenty of lemons and junkers out there with spotless exteriors — don’t get stuck with one.

Checklist for buying a used car or truck:

As an end note, we at you against ever buying a used vehicle “sight unseen” — the risks are simply too great.  If you simply MUST purchase that auto from eBay Motors that’s three states away, hire a local mechanic to inspect the vehicle.