Free Guide to Buying a Used Car Step 1

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Used cars
“Experienced” Cars & Trucks

If the time has arrived for you to upgrade your rolling stock, but you are not in the habit of losing thousands of dollars in vehicle depreciation dollars, then you need to buy a good-quality used car. There is absolutely no need to be intimidated by the prospect of getting a great bargain on a used car in which some other emotional consumer has already suffered the “new-car blues.” You simply need to implement a few time tested practices for avoiding a problem car and getting a car that will meet your                                                                                                                 requirements.

 Step 1: Know from whom you are buying the used car.


used car salesman
“Have I got a deal for you.”

As a rule “tote-your-note” used car lots and weekend auctions are off-limits, unless you either have cash in hand or you are very knowledgeable about cars. Some buy here-pay here used car lots make their living on high interest and substandard cars but they will occasionally stumble onto something worthwhile. If you have cash to pay for the car (in its entirety) and you are up to par on your haggling skills, then you just may get a good deal on a great car. Avoid high-interest financing and be very cautious about entering into any contractual agreement, unless you bring your own financing. Auctions are a “crap-shoot.” You never have the opportunity to drive the car and are not familiar with the person who is selling it. It is easy to fall into a trap in an emotional high-pressure weekend auction type of environment and wake-up with a “hang-over” and a huge hole where your wallet used to be.


So, now you know where not to go. This section will concern choosing the right used car dealer. Reputable used car dealers such as new car dealerships who offer certified used cars are one good example. They will have no problem with a perspective used car buyer taking the car and having the car checked by a neutral independent mechanic. Most automobile repair facilities are willing to perform pre-purchase inspections for a nominal fee. Don’t fret about the inconvenience; the money that you save may just be your own. can offer you a valuable resource when seeking a reputable used car dealer.

Regardless of where you buy the used car, if you will be financing, then always arrange your own. This is the only way that you can be assured of getting the best rate. Even though you are buying a used car, ask the dealer to extend you a warranty. You may be surprised to discover that they will grant you at least a short (30 to 90-day) warranty in order to help you to make a decision. This could be enough time for you to get to know the car and become aware of any impending major component failure.



There are all types of reasons for purchasing a used car from an individual. You could obtain a better deal, locate the exact vehicle package that you desire, or even buy a vehicle with which you are familiar. Nevertheless, when purchasing a used car from an individual, there are some rules to live by.

  • Never buy a used car that is parked at a remote location. If a seller will not do business at his/her home, the chances of them having something to hide are very great.
  • As with a dealership, always have the vehicle inspected by a neutral automotive expert.
  • Ask for maintenance records. A used car’s history can tell you a lot about whether you want it, or not.
  • Used car research tools, such as those offered by, can also be a source of reputable individual used car sellers.


Be on the lookout for the Free Guide to Buying a Used Car Step 2 and Step 3, later this month on the BestRide Midnight Oil blog.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.