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What are some tips for buying used cars?

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Quick Answer

Tips for buying a used car include researching the make and model of various cars, knowing whether to shop from a private seller or used car dealership and securing financing. Shoppers should always test drive the vehicle and negotiate when possible, advises Edmunds.

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Full Answer

When purchasing a used car, a driver should figure out how much to spend. Take into consideration monthly payments when shopping at a dealership and commit no more than 20 percent of monthly take-home pay to a payment.

Once a driver knows how much to spend, he can begin looking at different makes and models. Look at things such as gas mileage and maintenance costs. Some cars made by Toyota and Honda will cost much more than similar cars made by other manufacturers. Read reviews and compare prices, suggests Edmunds.

Because not all sellers are honest, for true piece of mind, run a vehicle history report. A vehicle history report will tell a buyer if the odometer has been rolled back, the accident history of a vehicle and if it has a salvage title.

Always test drive the vehicle in the city and on the highway, if possible. Be sure to listen to the engine, make sure the transmission shifts smoothly and feel for any odd vibrations. Give the car a thorough visual inspection before and after driving to look for things like smoke and oil leaks.

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