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Used Car: What to Avoid When Buying a Used Car?

Updated on July 3, 2020

Used Car Buying Tips

If you want to buy a used car, you will need enough used car buying tips to make yourself an educated buyer, because without educating yourself, you will most likely end up buying a lemon car that will make you regret it.

Nowadays, the used car sales industry is booming, so you will find a large selection of the used cars when you consider buying. The problem is that a considerable number of used cars that have been previously wrecked, flooded, stolen, or that have an accident, are reconditioned and resold. When buying a used car, either you get a good and remarkable car that will work in your favor or you will buy a lemon car by throwing your money on something that does not deserve and paying for repairs that may extend for years to come.


Pitfalls You Should Avoid to Get an Outstanding Used Car

Here are the most common pitfalls that you must avoid if you want to get a remarkable used car:

  • Research: Do not go to purchase a used car without researching through the automotive classifieds of the local newspapers and the listings of the online used car websites such as and CarsDirect. By doing so, you will be able to decide which cars to buy.
  • VIN: Do not buy a used car without verifying its VIN. VIN stands for the Vehicle Identification Number and it is crucial for getting a detailed history report on the used car. Make sure that all the VIN plates are matched. Using the VIN you can avoid flooded, wrecked, stolen, or the used cars that have undergone major repair work such as engine overhauls and transmission rebuilds. It will be a high risk if you buy a used car without first verifying what you are buying by running a history report. You can get that report from CARFAX or AutoCheck using the VIN.
  • Odometer: Do not buy the used car with out verifying that the readout of the odometer is true. You can bring along a certified mechanic to check it for you. If the readout is not true, that means that the odometer has been rolled back and you are about to get ripped off.
  • Condition and age: Avoid buying a used vehicle that is in poor condition. The newer the used vehicle, the better the condition. Besides, if you buy a used car that is between 1 to 3 years old, it will still be under the manufacturer's warranty. Used cars that are sold by rental companies can be a good solution.
  • Service and maintenance records: Do not buy a used car without its respective service and maintenance records.
  • Inspection: Do not buy a used without bringing along a certified mechanic to check everything accurately and professionally for you. Make sure that the mechanic checks under the hood for the engine, adjusting cables, oils and fluids, and outside the car for the tires, windows, windshield, headlights, taillights, and turn signals. Also, the mechanic should check for the condition of the body of the used car, check for scratches, dents, and dings on every part of the body. Write down everything to use it to your advantage to cut down the price when negotiating.
  • Warranty: Do not buy a used car that is older than 3 years, because you will have to buy an extended warranty. If that's the case, it's recommended that you take your extended warranty from CARCHEX and Warranty Direct. Don't be fooled by high mileage "Powertrain" warranties, because they do not cover the most common issues.
  • Loan: If you are going to take a loan to buy the used car, avoid taking the loan at the dealership. It's recommended that you take the loan from the online lenders.
  • Test drive: Do not buy a used car without test driving it first. It's important to test drive it when the engine is cold. While you are driving, check the engine sound, shifting of the gears, brakes, suspension, shocks and springs, and acceleration levels.
  • CPO: Do not buy a CPO (Certified Pre-owned Car) without checking the VIN and the Vehicle History Report of that used car.
  • 175 point inspection: In general, the 175 point inspection does not mean much other than some sort of car detailing.
  • Used Car Myth: "A car sold by a big dealer has got to be OK!"
  • Extras: Avoid buying the unneeded extras from the dealer.
  • Negotiating: Do not negotiate the price without having price quotes. You can do so at and
  • Signing: Never sign "as is" unless you have checked the Vehicle History Report and have made sure that the car is in good condition. Also, do not sign before making sure that the title has been transferred to you. Make sure that the promises are written.


At The End

As you can see, buying a used car involves many pitfalls. By avoiding these pitfalls, you become an educated buyer who knows how to avoid costly pitfalls and who knows how to buy a remarkable used car.


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