Finding a Used Car to Buy
Which Car is Right for You?
The first step to buying a used car is a detailed assessment of your transportation needs. It's a good idea to answer the following questions:
Questions About Other Promotions
After you narrow your search to a few makes and models, analyze the pros and cons for each. There are many excellent resources available to help you do your research including websites, dealerships, and your local library. Read Consumer Reports magazine -- online or hard copy -- for reliability and repair ratings as well as for general advice. Provident's Online Auto Shopping offers pricing information from Kelley Blue Book, plus lists actual used autos for sale.
Look at individual used vehicles. Gather as much information as you can on the different makes and models. Check out the retail value, available options, performance, and track record for repairs.
For information about car safety features, recalls, crash tests, and other auto safety topics, go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) website. You can also call NHTSA's toll-free Auto Safety Hotline at 888-DASH-2-DOT (888 327-4236) and have information sent to you.
Finding the Car of Your Dreams
You can purchase a previously owned car from an independent used car lot, a new-car dealership, an auction, a used car superstore or a private seller. Wherever you decide to buy your car, there are some important things you need to know.
While your heart will play a big role in your decision, don't lose your head. Be willing to walk away from the car if the deal doesn't meet the criteria you laid out earlier. Your ability to negotiate a great deal will increase substantially as a result.
Always know the market value of any car you're considering and make your first offer lower. It's always easy to go up from your initial offer, but you probably won't be able to negotiate down from there. Provident's Online Auto Shopping site offers Kelley Blue Book pricing information on the value of the used car, lets you compare the asking prices of similar cars for sale, and request to be contacted about any particular car that you are interested in buying.
You should always be concerned about buying "someone else's problems." Make sure you get a detailed vehicle history report and service records from the person selling the vehicle. A vehicle history report can identify major problems including past accidents, flood damage, and odometer discrepancies. When you decide to buy a car, make sure you get it checked out by a trusted mechanic before you give the seller any money.
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