Before going out to buy a used car, it is convenient to do some homework. This can help you save a lot of money. Consider your driving habits, your needs and your budget. Research online, in libraries and bookstores about available models and options, costs, repair history, safety and mileage tests.
Before buying a used car
Pay everything or finance it
Dealer Sales and Buyer’s Guide
Independent inspection prior to purchase
If you have problems
Before buying a used car
If you are about to buy a used car from a dealer or private individual:
Test the vehicle’s driving conditions on different types of terrain – hills, freeways, and circulating in the city.
Ask for the maintenance record of the vehicle from the car owner, the dealer or the repair shop.
Determine the value of the vehicle before negotiating the purchase price. To get an idea of the prices look for National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Guides , Edmunds , Kelley Blue Book , and Consumer Reports . Some organizations charge for this information.
Find out the maintenance costs of the models that interest you, including the frequency of repairs and maintenance costs.
Examine the car on your own using an inspection checklist. You can find lists of this type in magazines, books and websites specialized in used cars.
Check for outstanding repairs of manufacturing defects that caused a recall of the vehicle. Start by asking the dealer if the vehicle you are considering is subject to a recall. You can also verify it on your own by entering the VIN number at supercargoes, or by calling the US Department of Transportation’s vehicle safety hotline. UU at 1-888-327-4236. If the vehicle was subject to a recall, ask the dealer to repair the manufacturing defects, or to give you the information that proves that they were repaired. Keep in mind that federal law does not require dealers to repair manufacturing defects in used cars subject to recalls, so you may have to take care of repairs. But do not delay – according to the US Department of Transportation. UU., The defects of the withdrawn vehicles of the market for reasons of security can be serious, and if they are not repaired they could cause accidents.
Obtain an independent record of the car’s history. Consult the database of a reliable service that compiles information from state and local authorities, scrap yards, and insurance companies. For example, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) of the Department of Justice provides information on vehicle title deeds, mileage counter or tachometer data, and a history of damage to vehicles. Plan to pay a nominal fee for each report. The National Insurance Crime Bureau(NICB), maintains a database of free access that includes information about flood damage and other data that will allow you to investigate the history of a car using the vehicle identification number (VIN). You can also search for companies that sell vehicle reports on the internet. If the report is not recent or you suspect you are missing information or have invented information, check with the company that issued the report. The information in the report may not be complete, so you may want to obtain a second report that is different from the company that issued the first report. Some dealer websites have electronic links to free reports.
Hire a mechanic to inspect the car.
Pay everything or finance it
You have two options: pay everything or finance it to pay it over time. The financing increases the total cost of the car because it is also paying the cost of the credit, including interest and other expenses. You should also consider how much money you can pay as an advance or advance, the amount of the monthly payment, the term or period of financing (for example, 48 months), and the applicable annual percentage rate or APR. Typically, interest rates on used car financing are higher than those on new car loans, and usually, the terms are shorter.
Grantees and other funding sources (such as finance companies, credit unions, or banks) offer a variety of financing terms. Search, compare and negotiate the best possible deal. If this is the first time you buy a car – or if your credit is not very good – be careful with special financing offers. You may have to pay a substantial down payment and a high APR. If you accept financing with a high annual interest rate, you could be taking a big risk.
you decide to sell the car before the end of the financing period, it is possible that the amount you get from the sale of the car is lower than what you need to pay for the financing agreement.
If the car is seized, or if you have an accident that causes a total loss, you may have to pay a large amount of money to repay the financing agreement, even after deducting the insurance payment or the amount of money obtained by the sale of the car.
If you have a tight budget, you may have to consider buying and paying cash for a car that is cheaper than the one you planned to buy.
If you decide to finance the purchase of your car, before signing any document, be sure you understand the following aspects of the financing agreement:
What is the exact price you are paying for the vehicle?
How much are you financing?
What is the financial charge (the amount in dollars that the loan will cost)?
What is the annual percentage rate or “APR” (the measure of the cost of credit, expressed in terms of the annual rate)?
How many fees will you pay and what is the amount of each installment?
What is the total sale price (the sum of the monthly payments plus the down payment?
Dealer Sales and Buyer’s Guide
The used cars are sold in several distribution points: franchised dealers and independent dealers, car rental companies, leasing companies (leasing with purchase option), used car super-stores, and online. Ask your friends, family, and work colleagues if they have recommendations. Establish contact with your local consumer protection agency and with the Attorney General’s office of your state to find out if they register claims pending resolution on a particular dealer. You can also do a search on the internet to see if you find complaints about the seller. Enter the name of the seller in a search engine along with the words “review” or “complaint” in English or “complaint” or “problems” in Spanish.
Some car dealers attract their clientele with ads that say “no price haggling”, “factory certificates for used cars” and offering better guarantees. When evaluating your ads, consider the reputation of the dealers.
Federal law does not require licensees to grant a “three-day” right of reflection to used car buyers to cancel the transaction. In some states, concessionaires are required to offer or honor the right to cancel. In other states, the right to return a car within a few days and obtain a refund applies only if the concessionaire expressly grants them this privilege. Sellers should describe the right of cancellation as a “reflection” period, a money back guarantee, or as a “no questions” return policy. Before buying, find out what the merchant’s return policy is, ask for it to be delivered in writing and read it carefully.
The Used Car Rule of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states that dealers must set a Buyer’s Guide on all used cars offered for sale and deliver it to buyers after the sale. This includes light utility vans, light utility trucks, demonstration vehicles, and program wagons. The demos are new vehicles that were not sold, leased or leased, but were driven by the dealer’s staff. The program cars are current year vehicles with few miles that were returned after being in leasing or rent for a short period. It is not mandatory to set the Buyer’s Guideon motorcycles or in most recreational vehicles. Any seller selling less than six cars per year is not obligated to place Buyer’s Guides .
How it is – No dealer’s warranty
When the dealer offers a vehicle “as is”, the box next to the words “As is” – “No dealer warranty” in the Buyer’s Guide be marked If the seller marks that box but promises to repair the vehicle or cancel the sale if you are not satisfied with the car, make sure you write that promise in the Buyer’s Guide. Otherwise, it may be difficult to get the seller to keep his word. Some states – Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia do not authorize the sale of various vehicle models used “as is”.
The states of Louisiana, New Hampshire and Washington, establish other requirements for informational vehicle data that are different from those in the Buyer’s Guide to create a sale “as is” valid. If the dealer does not provide the corresponding information according to the provisions of the state where the sale is made, said sale can not be considered “as is”. To find out what information is required in your state for sales “as is”, contact the office of the Attorney General of the corresponding state.
State laws hold responsible dealers who sell vehicles that do not meet reasonable quality standards. These obligations are called implicit guarantees – the tacit and unwritten promises that the seller makes to the buyer. However, in most states, grantees may use phrases such as “as is” or “with all their faults” by giving a written notice to buyers in which the implied warranties are removed. There is no specific period of time for implied warranties.
If you have a written warranty that does not cover your problems, you can still have coverage through implied warranties. That’s because when a dealer sells a vehicle with a written warranty or a service contract, the implied warranties are included automatically. Dealers can not eliminate this protection if they provide a written guarantee. Any time limit of an implied warranty must be included in the written warranty.
Implicit marketability guarantees
The most common type of implied warranty is the marketability guarantee: The seller promises that the product offered for sale will do what it is supposed to do. An example of a marketability guarantee is that the car will work. This promise applies to the basic functions of the car. It does not cover what may stop working in the car.
Breakdowns and other problems that may arise after the sale do not prove that the seller has breached the warranty of merchant ability. It is considered that the seller infringed the warranty of merchant ability only if the buyer can demonstrate that the defect in question already existed at the time of sale. A problem that arises after the sale may or may not be the result of a defect that already existed at the time the sale was made. Therefore, the responsibility of the seller must be judged on a case-by-case basis.
Assurance of fitness for a particular purpose
A warranty of fitness for a particular purpose applies when you purchase a vehicle based on the advice of the dealer that the vehicle is suitable or adapted for a particular use. For example, a seller who recommends you buy a particular vehicle as suitable to tow a trailer, is promising that the vehicle is suitable for that particular purpose.
Complete and limited guarantees
Dealers can offer a full or limited warranty on all or only some of the systems or components of the vehicle. Most warranties on used cars are limited and their coverage may vary. A full guarantee includes the following terms and conditions: