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What To Ask When Buying a Used Car

Used Derby Car

If you're in the market for a used vehicle, you have some questions to ask both of yourself and the prospective seller.

Before you begin shopping, ask yourself what you need the vehicle for. Will it be a commuter to work, an around town grocery getter, an extra vehicle for hauling the family, or a replacement for a car that is becoming unreliable?

You need to answer this question carefully so that you don't buy something on impulse. You also need to be completely sure that you understand what you can afford in either total price (if paying cash) or monthly payments. Be sure to assess what insurance rates will cost as well. Getting into a vehicle you can't afford is a fast road to financial ruin.

Once you know these things, begin looking. Settle on a vehicle type (sedan, van, truck, etc.) that is both right for your needs and within your budget. Then start looking at specific makes and models.

If you're shopping for a used car from a private seller in order to try to save money, be sure you know the specific questions to ask a private seller. If you're going to buy through a dealership, then you should know the right questions to ask a used car dealer as well.

In either case, you'll want to know the vehicle's mileage, ownership history, maintenance history, the reason it's being sold, and will the vehicle fit your budget.

You should also have a local mechanic lined up that you can set an appointment with within a couple of days to have the car looked over before you buy it. Often, you can take an extended test drive (one or two days) and have the car looked over during that period. The more time you can spend with the car before buying it, the better.

Buying a used car isn't tossing the dice. If you know what you're after and what to look for to get it, you'll be just fine and will be more than happy with your purchase.

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