With some research and preparation, those in the market for a used car can identify and avoid even the most dubious of sales pitches. The best defense against being swindled is to educate yourself on automotive terminology, your financing options and the dealership's reputation.
Those who walk into a dealership without a specific type of car in mind or without the amount of money they are willing to spend are easy targets for a bad business deal. Before patronizing a dealership, decide your automotive needs and set a monetary limit according to your budget.
To avoid being duped by clever wordplay, it's important to familiarize yourself with automotive terminology as well as the taxes, fees and other charges often tacked onto a used car transaction. You can find the history of a specific vehicle by entering the vehicle identification number, or VIN, into an online database. This number is often inside the driver's side door pillar.
A potential buyer should perform a visual inspection of the vehicle as well as a test drive. These can reveal problems such as tire wear to suspicious sounds. You can also ask for an extended warranty from the dealer, that helps pay for or defray certain costs should the vehicle need repair. Lastly, it is important to make sure the terms of your contract reflect your agreement with the dealer.