Buying A Used Car The Smart Way

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Buying a used car is the best option for more and more of us these days. A used car can be safe, financially reasonable and a fine vehicle. But you’ll have to make the effort to shop smart. Here’s how.
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Safety First

Unless you’re set on a classic car from the days before safety features, get a model known for having a good suite of them. Find out how the model you’re looking at fares in crashes. Admit things like how good (or bad) a driver you are and what sorts of weather the vehicle will have to navigate.
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Best Loan

A lot can happen in 36 months. With a little push, you should find a rate lower than the industry average 4.77%.
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Check Vehicle’s History

An older car, one with more mileage, can still be a good value so long as no one ever wrapped it around a telephone pole. It’s worth the forty bucks to check the car’s vehicle identification (VIN) number to find out about events like this.
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Buy CPO

If you’re able to invest in reliability (but aren’t buying a new car) at least find a CPO or Certified Pre-Owned. The level of pre-inspection is pretty rigorous, and the warranty will be better.
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Get An Independent Inspection

Any honest dealer will permit you to have an independent, certified auto mechanic look it over.
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Private Individual Sellers

If you’re very tight for money, consider buying from an individual. The prices are lower than a dealer’s – but that’s because you’re not getting any warranty. Find someone you think you can trust and look for an auspicious date.
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Model Reliability

Some models break down a lot, but stay in business because their fans somehow overlook that. Or they’re rich enough to buy two. If you value a model’s reputation for basic things (like starting) refer to the Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and Assoc. websites.
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Warranty

Get it in writing, even if it’s just you writing on a notepad. If a car has no warranty, it has to be clearly marked “As Is.”
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Shady Dealers

If your dealer has filled up the Better Business Bureau with customer complaints, you need to know this BEFORE he’s your dealer. That’s why we check BBB people.
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Get Service Records

Anybody who isn’t your cousin? Don’t buy a car from them if they can’t provide auto service records. And we’re not too sure about your cousin.
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