Shopping for a used car is no easy feat. If you want a safe and reliable car
at a good price, you'll need to do your homework.
Before you begin shopping, know what you are looking for. Do you need a
vehicle to get you safely from point A to point B, regardless of looks? Or
are you looking for a particular make and model that you can only afford
Once you determine your needs, you must select a source.
The Better Business Bureau
lists a number of sources for used cars, including less traditional ones like car
rental agencies and banks. The site also provides checklists of important things to
note in the lot and on the road.
The Federal Trade Commission
outlines dealers' legal responsibilities and explains the warranty process.
There are a number of ways to avoid getting a sour deal on a used vehicle. One
simple way is by using
CarFax's free lemon check.
Type in the vehicle identification number (VIN) and your zip code, and
CarFax will let you know whether there is a lemon law record for the
vehicle. The site will also tell you whether there are any vehicle history
reports for the car, but you will have to pay to view them. The reports
cover state title and registration records, as well as some maintenance
records and damage reports. If a seller has been upfront with you about a
car's history, you may not have to order the complete history report.
Once you've checked the car's service record, you should have it thoroughly
examined by a mechanic or car buff neighbor.
A number of sites can help you determine the fair market value of a used
vehicle. Edmunds and
Kelley Blue Book are the most well known car buying guides.
Car Wizard is another option for new and used car data.
Other Sites to See
This site's inventory of more than 1.5 million used cars is updated daily.
Donating Your Used Car to Charity
If you're ready to get rid of a used car that's too beat up to sell,
consider a tax-deductible charitable donation. This guide from the Better
Business Bureau will help you get started.
Research, buy, finance, maintain, sell or enjoy your vehicle.