Best Tips on Buying a Used Car


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There are a few advantages to buying a used car. The biggest benefit is in the cost of the vehicle. Cars depreciate about 40% in the first three years of ownership. You can save a significant amount of money if you purchase an automobile that is about three or four years old, rather than a new one. Of course, you want to make sure the vehicle is in good condition. If it isn’t, the money you put out for repairs can eat up your savings.

Questions to Ask:

  • Ask about the mileage on the car. The lower the mileage, the better the deal you are getting. Look for a vehicle with lower mileage.

  • Ask about the maintenance the car has received. Ideally, you want to see a maintenance schedule that will prove the car has received the necessary repairs. Look for information on oil changes, tune ups, tire rotation, filter and fluid replacement. Even if the vehicle has slightly higher mileage, if it is well maintained it is more likely to be reliable.

  • Has the car been painted? While a new paint job may seem like a bonus, it may not be. Some people hide damage and accidents with a cheap paint job. While the car may look great, the paint can be masking larger problems with the body. In addition, a cheap paint job could begin to chip or peel in a few months time, leaving you with a terrible looking car.

  • Are the inspection and emissions current? If they aren’t or are about to expire, request that this is done prior to the purchase. Problems with the vehicle often show up during routine inspections.

  • How many people have owned the automobile? The fewer owners, the better for you. One owner is best. If the vehicle has had several owners, try to find out why. Sometimes it can be a sign of larger problems.

  • Why are you selling? This can give you valuable information. Things like a growing family or selling as part of a divorce settlement is to be expected and don’t mean anything negative about the auto itself. On the other hand, you may learn something about the car that will give you cause for concern.

  • Is there any time left on the warranty? Warranties are transferable when a vehicle is sold. The length can vary and be anywhere from 36,000 to 100,000 miles. The longer the time remaining on the warranty, the better for your peace of mind. Ask questions about exactly what is and is not covered under the existing warranty.
  • Inspect the vehicle: the interior, exterior and under the hood. When looking under the hood, look for signs of corrosion or other damage. Consider having the car checked out by your mechanic. A mechanic can put it up on the lift and inspect it thoroughly for you. This gives you added security in your purchase.

    Test drive the vehicle for at least twenty minutes. Two test drives are better than one. The more time you spend driving it, the more likely you are to hear unusual noises that can signal a larger problem. Take the automobile on the roads you typically travel to get a feel for how it will handle under your normal driving conditions.

    Check out the car on a website like There have been scams after the recent hurricanes in the United States involving flooded vehicles. These are given a title that is marked flooded or totaled. Unfortunately, some con artists have been known to have the car re titled in another state, with a clean title. You may be an honest Christian and have trouble believing this, but other people aren’t always so honest. Carfax uses the vehicle identification number (VIN) to track autos. You will know if the vehicle has ever been totaled or flooded.

    Remember, your used car won’t have the shiny appearance of a brand new one. This can be fixed with paint and restoration, if it is in good running condition. Even a good wax job can return the shine. Don’t forget the headlights when you are restoring the exterior finish. There is a great product called New Lite Headlight Cleaner and Restorer that returns headlights to their original condition. Cloudy headlights are a safety concern, as they won’t work as well. Learn more about this product at

    David Maillie is a chemist with over 12 years experience in biochemical research and clynical analysis. He is an alumni of Cornell University and specializes in biochemical synthesis for public, private, and governmental interests. He holds numerous patents including his recently awarded patent for headlight cleaner and restorer. He can be reached at M. D. Wholesale:


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