Buying Tips

Car Buying Tips.

Whether you're a first- or many-time buyer, we think you'll find the following tips helpful in becoming a sharp, shopper. Remember, though, that pre-owned vehicles aren't just off the showroom floor. So, be smart in knowing what can be fixed inexpensively – and what cannot.

  1. Define what you're looking for
    • How you'll use the vehicle.
    • How long you plan to keep it.
    • The year(s), make(s), model(s), style(s) and size(s) you're most interested in.
    • The features you need - and want.
    • What you can afford to pay for insurance.
    • What you can afford to pay for the vehicle.
    • Your financing options.
    • What you can budget each month for gas,regular maintenance, and unexpected repairs.
  2. Check Today's Market Values
    • Go to the Kelley Blue Book to determine the resale values of the vehicles you have in mind.
  3. Be Sure to Ask the Seller About:
    • The vehicle's mpg in the city and out on the open road.
    • If the seller has the manufacturer's owners booklet.
    • If the vehicle is still under the manufacturer's original warranty.
    • The vehicle's maintenance and repair records.
    • How long the seller has owned the vehicle.
    • How many people have owned the vehicle.
    • If the seller has the title that shows he/she is the legal owner of the vehicle.
  4. Inspect the Vehicle in Daylight and in Good Weather for:
    • Body condition for rust, serious dents, or repainting.
    • Tire condition for uneven wear.
    • Spare tire condition, and the correct jack that's in working order.
    • Tail pipe for rust, emission or engine problems.
    • Shock absorbers for stiffness.
    • Windows, windshields and all light lamps for cracks.
    • Windows, doors and the trunk lid for close fit and working order.
    • All fluids (oil, radiator, transmission) for clarity.
    • Underbody and the ground for leaks or stains.
    • Interior condition, upholstery and trim.
    • All mechanical parts for working order.
    • Headlights
    • Heat
    • Power locks
    • Tail lights
    • A/C
    • Seat adjustment
    • Brake lights
    • Tape player
    • Mirror adjustment
    • Backup lights
    • CD player
    • Horn
    • Directional signals
    • Radio
    • Sunroof
    • Windshield wipers
    • Power windows
    • Seat belts
  5. Test Drive the Vehicle for:
    • Starting ease.
    • Steering smoothness.
    • Unusual vibrations, noises or smells.
    • Pickup power.
    • Braking.
    • Straight tracking.
    • Cruise control.
    • Handling.
  6. Know Your State's Requirements for:
    • Emissions inspections.
    • Certified auto inspections.
    • Child safety.
    • Seat belts.
    • Title transfer.
    • Licensing (new or transfer)