Buying reliable used cars is something that you and I want to be sure of, whether it's from a dealer or
an individual. The fact is if you are not a mechanic, you just don't know if the car you're buying is good or not. This used car guide can help you as you go used car shopping.
If you live in California, you have two days to return a used vehicle and get your cash back. The California Car Buyer's Bill of Rights, which went into effect in 2006, mandates that car dealers must offer a buyer a two-day return option on most used vehicles. You're out of luck if you bought your car from private parties.
But the two-day return option isn't free. You have to pay for the privilege. It's $75 for a $5,000 car or less and as much as $400 on a $40,000 used car. And the option fee is not returnable.
Federal Law requires that every used vehicle offered by a dealer (in this case, anyone who sells more than five vehicles a year) must have a Buyer's Guide posted inside. It has to include:
Whether the vehicle is sold "as is" or with a warranty.
A declaration of what percentage of repair costs a dealer will pay if there is a warranty.
A reminder that spoken promises are difficult to enforce.
Buying reliable used cars entails that you do your homework also. It could be taking the precaution of taking a mechanic with you when you go to a dealer or an individual seller to inspect a car. It's much better to pay a mechanic $100 or $150 for inspection than be stuck with the car from a private party. After you pay the seller $5,000 only to find out later that there's something terribly wrong with the car, you have no recourse. You'll find that it is usually very tough to get your money back.
To be assured that you are buying reliable used cars, do the following:
Buying from the dealer:
1. Have a mechanic look at the car.
2. Check to see that the vehicle's title is clear and that it's never been in a serious accident.
3. Have the dealer run a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) check before you go to the lot.
4. Ask the dealer to look up the car on AutoCheck®. Both charge a fee to trace the car's 17-digit vehicle identification number for accidents, service and odomoter registrations.
makes a thorough Title Check if the car is salvaged, rebuilt, if there's fire damage; a Problem Check if there's frame damage, if the car is a lemon, if the car was sold at a Salvage Auction, or if there's water damage to the car; runs an Odometer Check to find out if the odometer was rolled back, broken, if it exceeds the limit or the mileage is suspect; and finally runs a Vehicle Use & Event Check which detects if the car was ever involved in accidents, theft, whether the car was ever used by police or as a taxi and whether it was a fleet car. All of
these steps ensure that you are getting reliable used cars for $19.99 or $24.99 for unlimited vehicle history reports. Small investment to cut your risk.
Buying from an individual:
1. Before traveling to see a vehicle you've found in classifieds or online, ask the owner for all the
options, mileage, etc., then look up the prices before you go. Get the 17 digit VIN# from them and run the car title search using AutoCheck VIN Check
on it before you visit the seller. When you get there, you'll already know the value of the car, as well as if the odometer was reset, or if the title was ever negatively branded. A report can reveal serious problems that can't be seen, even if
you brought with you a mechanic. Doing so can assure you that you're looking at reliable used cars.
2. Test drive the car and give it a thorough visual inspection for any signs of flooding or accidents.
3. If it looks good, ask the seller if you can bring it to a mechanic, - at your expense - because there could be problems you can't spot.
4. Ask the owner if he has service records. Check for regular maintenance such as transmission or oil changes. If the owner keeps them, chances are it's been well cared for.
5. If the owner refuse, walk away. There's a lot of reliable used cars out there.
Finding reliable used cars out there is only limited by your willingness to spend some time in checking important precautions detailed above. If you consider that you're dealing with a significant amount of money, you will realize that going through the troubles is worth it.