5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Used Car

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - August 19, 2016
Old Used Car

Don't let the fear of getting a lemon keep you from buying a used car. While there's always some risk, you can do a lot to ensure the car you're buying will last for years.

Here are five mistakes to avoid:

Don't Get Hooked

It's easy to get caught up in the moment when you spot your dream car. Take your time and consider whether it truly meets your needs and budget.

Don't Limit Your Search

Expand your search to cars outside of your area. Many dealers have their inventory listed online for easy long-distance window shopping. If you do find something interesting, a quick phone call can help determine if a particular car is worth the trip.

Don't Forget to Research

Be sure to learn as much as possible about your used car of choice before you begin looking in person. Make sure this vehicle has the features and reliability you need. Visit websites dedicated to the model you are interested in. The online automotive community will be happy to share their knowledge and experience.

Don't Take Their Word for It

When buying any used car, nothing is as telling as an in-person inspection. Photographs can be misleading, and even the most poorly maintained vehicle can be made to look good with an afternoon of elbow grease and a garden hose. Buy a vehicle history report to see whether the car you want to buy has been in any accidents.

Don't Go It Alone

Most repairs shops offer pre-purchase inspections. There are two major benefits to this minor investment. First, the mechanic will have the ability to check the underside of the car for leaks, rust, or damage that may be invisible even while lying on the ground next to the car. Second, it will provide an additional road test to shed light on intermittent issues that may not have been present on your own test drive.

When researching and buying a used car, it helps to be informed and prepared. By avoiding the most common mistakes that first-time buyers often make, you give yourself a better chance at finding a safe, reliable car that will get you where you need to go.

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage.