If you're in the market for a used car, but want to some tips to make sure you're going to be buying something reliable, then this guide was written for you. Specifically, we're going to talk about the importance of inspecting the car, what some of the tell-tale signs are that you should be aware of, and finally – how to do a little online research to find out information on the car which you may otherwise not be told.

By the time you have finished reading this guide, you should feel more confident about your ability to obtain a reliable second-hand vehicle.

So how can you make sure you're buying a reliable used car? Most car auctions and used car dealerships allow you to inspect automobiles before you buy them, although the auctions won't let you test drive the cars. (However, government car auctions are often open a day or two early to allow potential bidders plenty of time to examine the merchandise.)

Here are some things to look for in particular: First, study the entire surface of the exterior of the car; really lean in closely to scrutinize the paint job. Are there dents? Evidence that the car has undergone significant repairs? Bend down to look under the car. Is the oil or something else leaking? You might want to see if the seats have holes or look worn out, or if the tires seem worn down, telltale signs of an aging car.

Obviously, you're better off avoiding vehicles that are damaged, leaking or seem to have been repaired as they probably won't be as reliable. And even more important, how much mileage does the vehicle have on it?

A Carfax.com search can tell you if the car has been in major accidents. Also note that government car auctions tend to sell reliable used cars as the government takes meticulous care of the cars in its possession, and they should be honest with you about the problems a car may or may not have as they are not overly concerned with making a profit on the cars they auction off.

Now that you have finished reading this guide, you should be more aware of what to look for when buying a reliable used car, and you won't make an expensive mistake!