Why would I buy a used car?

A used car is often cheaper than a new car. You can save a lot of money.

Who sells used cars?

Some car dealerships sell used cars. Sometimes, the person who owns the car sells it herself.

Where can I find used cars for sale?

You can find used cars for sale:

  • on websites or in magazines that advertise cars for sale
  • in the classified or automotive section of the newspaper
  • at a used car dealership

Are there rules for selling used cars?

Yes, if you buy a car from a car dealer. A car dealer must put a Buyers Guide in every used car they are selling.

How do I know the car works well?

When you find a car you like:

  • Review the service records. Did previous owners do the scheduled maintenance on time?
  • Get a vehicle history report. Vehiclehistory.gov has a list of companies that sell vehicle history reports.
  • Ask the seller if there are safety recalls that have not been completed. You also can check at Safercar.gov. Enter the vehicle identification number to search for recalls.
  • Test drive the car in your normal driving situations. Do you usually drive in heavy traffic? Test drive the car in heavy traffic.
  • Hire a mechanic you trust to inspect the car. The mechanic will tell you what repairs the car needs and how much they will cost. If the car needs repairs, the seller might reduce the price or pay for those repairs before selling the car to you.

Do used cars come with a warranty?

Some used cars might still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Ask the seller if the warranty is still in effect. If the manufacturer’s warranty is not in effect, the dealer might try to sell you an extended warranty.

Should I buy an extended warranty?

A used car dealer might offer to sell you an extended warranty when you buy a car. Read it to see what repairs or services are covered.

Ask the dealer about the car or truck.

  • Do you think the vehicle will need repairs?
  • How much would the repairs cost?

Then ask the dealer about the extended warranty:

  • Ask if you would have to pay for part of the repairs.
  • Ask if the repairs have to be done at the dealership.
  • Ask if you have to pay any money if you cancel the extended warranty.

Then you can decide if you want to pay for the extended warranty.

How can I pay for a car?

You can pay the total price of the car when you buy it. You also can borrow money to pay for the car. That will cost more than if you pay all at once. That is because you will have to pay interest for borrowing the money.

Where can I borrow money to pay for a car?

You can borrow money from a lender like a bank or a credit union. Compare loan offers from several lenders. Ask:

  • What is the annual percentage rate?
  • How much will I pay every month?
  • How many payments do I have to make?
  • What is the total amount I will pay?

Before you shop for a car, ask the lender to pre-approve your loan. That will tell you how much money you can spend on a car.

What about dealer financing?

Some car dealers offer financing when they sell a car. This is one way to borrow money. Compare the cost of the dealer financing to the cost of a loan from a credit union or bank. Then decide what the best deal is for you.

Could there be problems with financing a car through the dealer?

Sometimes, a dishonest dealer might try to trick you into paying more than you expected. It can happen like this:

  • The dealer lets you drive the car home. A few days or weeks later, the dealer calls. He says you have to go back to the dealership. He says your financing was not approved.
  • Then, the dealer offers you a new financing agreement. It might have a bigger down payment. It might have a higher annual percentage rate. These things make the car more expensive.

You might decide not to sign the new financing agreement. Then, the dealer might threaten to take away the car you bought. You might decide not to return the car. Then, the dealer might threaten to file a police report saying you stole it. The dealer also might refuse to return your down payment or refuse to return the car you traded in.

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