10 Ways to Reduce the Risk When Buying a Used Car

Last Updated On: January 22, 2019
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10 Ways to Reduce the Risk When Buying a Used Car

by beconrad

If you want to save money, you could skip your daily latte, or you could focus on the big ticket items. While forgoing that daily coffee stop may seem like a good idea, saving money on the vehicle you drive will give you far more bang for your buck.

When it is time to buy a new set of wheels, you could save thousands of dollars by choosing a gently used vehicle instead of a brand new one. But how do you know the used car you are considering will be reliable, and how can you avoid driving off with a lemon? Here are 10 tips to help you choose a reliable used car.

1. Check the reliability ratings. If you want to buy a reliable used car, check the reliability ratings from when those cars were new. You cannot expect an unreliable new car to magically become a reliable used car.

2. Insist on a vehicle history report. From accidents to maintenance, a vehicle history report can tell you a great deal, so always insist on seeing one.

3. Stick to reputable dealers. A dealer with a long history is more likely to sell you a reliable used car, so check the history of the car lot you are considering.

4. Look for a solid warranty. The warranty matters when buying a used car, but you need to check the details carefully. Does the warranty cover the whole car, or just the drive train? Can you take the vehicle anywhere you like for service, or is the warranty good only at the dealership?

5. Do an extensive test drive. The test drive is your chance to check the used car out, so do not skimp on the opportunity. Drive the car as far as possible, alter your speed, do emergency maneuvers on empty roads, test the brakes and learn as much as you can about the vehicle.
6. Factor in the cost of ownership. The purchase price is not the only consideration when buying a used car. Check the average cost of ownership for every vehicle on your list, then choose your wheels accordingly.
7. Pay for a thorough inspection. If you are spending thousands of dollars on a used car, paying a fraction of that for a thorough inspection can be a smart thing to do. Ask your mechanic to check out the vehicle and provide you with a detailed inspection report.
8. Choose a vehicle that meets your needs. Buying a sports car when you really need a minivan is a very bad idea, so think about how you drive, what you haul and how you will use the vehicle.
9. Shop where you will have a wide selection. The greater the selection, the better the odds you will find the right vehicle. Look for a dealership or lot with a large inventory, then block out some time to do some careful shopping.
10. Use your warranty period wisely. If your used car comes with a warranty, use that time to push the vehicle and look for defects. If you suspect any problems, now is the time to have them checked out.

Buying a used car can seem like a crapshoot, but it does not have to be. If you know what to look for, and how to shop, you can find a reliable used car and save yourself a lot of money in the process.