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Buying a Used Car Online

Used Car Online

Today, it's becoming more and more common for people to find their next car on the Internet instead of from the newspaper classifieds or a dealer's lot. The power of the World Wide Web has created the opportunity for used car buyers to be much better informed about the car they're considering.

Of course, buying a used car online has its own risks and nuances to deal with. Most Internet activity surrounding used cars is research, with an estimated 80% of car buyers now spending at least an hour online researching a car before purchase.

There are new and growing opportunities to actually purchase the car online, though. Usually, these are vehicles that are outside of the purchaser's immediate geographic area - maybe out of state or even in another country in some cases.

These purchases are often done sight unseen or with the buyer seeing the car only once, when they go to pick it up (assuming it's not shipped). In this case, precautions obviously need to be taken.

First and foremost, research the car and the seller as thoroughly as possible. Lemon Laws vary by state and the laws of the state you're purchasing from, not your own state, will apply. Most sellers should be willing to give you the vehicle's VIN number so you can get a CARFAX report, at least.

You should also arrange for a mechanic to go look at the car for you. A mechanic local to the area will usually charge only for time (and perhaps mileage) to go inspect a used car you are interested in purchasing. The $50 or so you spend here will be well worth it.

Finally, if the car is not being shipped to you, you may need to get temporary registration, either from your own county or the county in which it currently resides. Find out about this before you go get the car and make life easier for yourself.

As a last word of caution, do not pay for the car or shipping until the deal is struck and in writing. If you're going to get the car yourself, pay for it when you arrive, not before.

Most Internet purchases of used cars turn out OK. You just need to know what to think about and do before you make the purchase.

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