When you shop for a car, it's important that you are prepared to negotiate effectively and make sure you're getting the best possible deal. If you've purchased a car and are having problems with it, you also need to understand your rights. An Orange County lemon law attorney can help you if you've bought a new car and are having issues.
Because buying a car can be so challenging for consumers, it's helpful to take advantage of tips that allow you to save money while still ending up with a reliable vehicle. Recently, USA Today published a report on some of the steps that buyers should take when they are shopping for an inexpensive used car.
Tips for Consumers Shopping for a Used Car
According to USA Today, buying a used car can be challenging because many people do not take proper care of their cars, because many people are dishonest and want to swindle car buyers, and because the process of finding a high quality car takes time if you do it right. However, if you follow a few specific steps, the process can end with success.
The steps that USA Today advises you to take include:
- Deciding what you want early in the search process: You should define the parameters of the type of vehicle you want. For example, do you want a compact car, a mid-sized car, a luxury car, or an SUV. Consider how many miles should be on the car you're hoping to buy, and think about the car brand. While Honda and Toyota are usually considered very desirable options when shopping for used cars, USA Today suggests considering other brands that are reliable but that don't have such a high resale value.
- Determine if you want to go through a dealer or private seller: Dealers typically charge more, so focusing on a private seller could be a good option if you want a better deal. However, you need to be vigilant about finding a car that has a responsible owner. Ideally, you should find a one-owner vehicle and should make sure that the car comes with maintenance records so you know about it's history. If the car has had more than two owners, tracking the maintenance history of the car could be difficult and you could end up with a vehicle that has not been well maintained.
- Avoid cars with salvage titles: You can check the car's history to see if the car has been rebuilt or has a salvage title. If it does, that means it was declared a total loss by an insurer, which usually means that there could be serious and costly problems.
- Look for unprepared damage: If there are stains on the car's interior or if there is unrepaired damage to the body of the vehicle, these could be red flags that the car has been abused.
- Look for local vehicles: You should try to reach out to sellers or dealers who are local so you can see the car in person.
- Talk to the seller in person: You want to talk with the seller on the phone, ask questions about the vehicle's history, and find out the vehicle identification number so you can do your research on the car.
- Inspect the car carefully in person. Check the oil dipstick, bring a flashlight, and make sure the automatic transmission fluid is red and clear.
These are some of the key steps to take when looking for a reliable used car. If you are looking for a new car and you buy one that turns out to have defects, an Orange County lemon law attorney can help you to understand your rights.