Buying a used car can save you money, and if you know how to shop around, you can get a great car too. The trick is to know how to spot a bad deal. Here a few tips that you make it easier to find a good, used ride.
Read the Reviews
Check online for car reviews to see what owners and car publications have to say about the make and model of the used car you're thinking of getting. Remember especially to look at crash test ratings and economy ratings.
Check the History
There are several companies that will provide you with a car's history if you provide the VIN number. It's worth getting a history report for any used car you're considering buying because it will let you know if it's been in any accidents or floods in the past, or whether it's been stolen or repossessed, all of which are tell tale signs of a lemon.
Check the Blue Book
The Kelly Blue Book will not provide you with the 100% accurate price of a used car, but it will tell you the average price for a car. Knowing this will let you know whether a used car is over-priced or under-priced, so that you have some bartering power when negotiating.
Always remember to test drive the car before you buy. Take in on a variety of rows to see how it feels. Pay attention to any noises it makes. Check that all the features work and test drive it an empty parking lot, if there's one available, so you can see how the breaks and maneuverability are.
Get it Checked by a Mechanic
Even if you've test driven the car and it feels fine, it's a good idea to get it checked by a professional mechanic (one you know and trust, if possible). If you offer to pay for the check up, no reasonable seller will refuse you. It doesn't cost much and it could potentially save you a lot of money.
Don't Shop Alone
Bringing someone along when you shop helps keep you level headed by providing a second opinion. You may also consider seeking lemon law help in California before making for final decision.