Used car prices rose 3% in 2011, and are on track to jump another 1.8% in 2012. Used cars are still the best deal when it comes to vehicle purchases, but the average sales price has been creeping up since the start of the financial crisis. If you’re in the market for a used vehicle, here are some things to think about.
Tips For Buying A Used Car
Know Your Values
Once you find the used car you want, make sure you check the blue book value before negotiating.
Involve A Mechanic
Get the car checked out by a reliable mechanic. The mechanic can tell you if there are any maintenance issues you should be concerned about. You can either negotiate the price down based on the cost of repairs or just walk away from the deal. You should also check to see if there were any recalls issued for the car and whether or not the corrections were made.
Test Drive It
Go for a test drive and make sure everything is in working order.
Verify The Title
Call the motor vehicle department or the non-emergency number for your local police department to verify that the information on the title matches. You’ll want to know that the vehicle is not being sold fraudulently, or is stolen.
Make A Contract
If you’re buying the used car from a dealer, they should have contracts for you to look over and sign. If you’re buying in a private transaction, think about setting up a contract with the seller.
Use An Escrow Service
For cars for sale by owner, consider using an escrow service for the transfer of funds. They can set up a holding period during which you can make sure you weren’t sold a lemon.
Make sure to keep copies of the title, release of liability, and sellers contact information before you submit the registration. You will need documentation in case something goes awry.
Get A History Report
Finally, buying through a dealer will give you access to “Certified Pre-Owned” warranties. Don’t take the bait and upgrade the warranty for a longer period. Like most extended warranties, they’re rarely ever worth the upfront cost. Private transactions won’t get you a warranty, so you might want to get a Carfax report to uncover any possible issues that weren’t disclosed.