Buying a Used Car

September 21, 2006

used car dealershipYou can save a bundle on your next car purchase by buying a used car. One of the common concerns I hear from people about used cars is that they will require expensive repairs sooner than new cars. There is no question that repair bills can be outrageously expensive but here's one way to look at it.


If a new car costs you $15,000 (or more) and a five year old version of the same car costs $5,000, the difference in price leaves you a lot of room to make repairs and still come out on top. That's not even factoring the additional costs involved in insuring and financing the more expensive vehicle.

By Fisher

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June 11, 2008

I wanted to mention to all Thrifty car buyers to beware of the cost to replace parts on your economical car. I firmly believe the manufacturer does not make money on an economical car you purchase because they make up for the loss through the replacement parts you will need to fix your car.

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November 19, 2004

Buying a used car - don't overlook the private seller. I've bought two used cars, with 60,000 miles on them, paid $200 each time and drove them another 80,000 miles with no major repairs.


They were not pretty cars, but very dependable transportation. By Betty G.

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7 Questions

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August 2, 2005

I am about to start looking for a used car. I hope to buy a car that is a few years old. Does anyone have any good advice to use when I start shopping?



August 2, 20050 found this helpful

Visit Get this book: "Strategies for Smart Car Buyers" by Philip Reed and Excellent source of information to buy both new and used cars.



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By Debbie (Guest Post)
August 3, 20050 found this helpful

Test drive it and inspect it for things you know about. I like to see if the dipsticks are handy, if the spark plugs are easily accessible, and if the windows are easy to wash, as well as seeing if there are leaks and stuff.

If you still like it, get it inspected by a car inspection business, like Lemon Busters. They may find something horrible, saving you from a bad purchase. Probably they will just find a few things wrong that can easily be fixed. They also give you estimates on what the different repairs would cost. This will give you some warning about what your repair costs will be during the first year or two, and may even help you negotiate a better price.


I've heard you shouldn't use your usual car-repair guy for the inspection because their self-interest is to get you into a car that will need lots of work! Plus car-inspection businesses have a huge list of things to look for.

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August 3, 20050 found this helpful

Yes - do as I did! Go online! Just type "used automobiles" in Google and then go to the websites shown. I can't remember the name of the one I used; however, I was able to locate all used vehicles that I was interested in (pickup truck for me) within a certain distance from my home; then I was able to research the life story on the vehicles of my choice.


I had to pay a small fee to do the research but it was worth it. I got a 3-year-old truck with only 19,000 miles on it!

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By syd (Guest Post)
August 3, 20050 found this helpful

As someone already suggested, you can shop on the Internet for used vehicles in your are.

In both our cases, we started looking with dealer's and let them know what we were considering. I was looking for a new vehicle at first. Always bought new and drove them until they were ready to drop!

In talking with a salesman at a dealership, and he knowing that I was still looking around ... the sales manager stepped in and said, they just got a trade-in he thought I might be interested in and the price was very attractive. It had about 12,600 miles and was a year old and the new ones were due to come out soon. I test drove it. This was a new salesman and I felt like the sales manager was trying to help him make his first sale!


I had them run a Carfax, which was free. We bought the car. This was the first used vehicle we ever bought! I would do it again.

Hubby did the same approach, looking for a used truck with several dealers. Got several calls and after considering a purchase, had a "free" Carfax run on it and found that the vehicle was not a one-owner vehicle the salesman thought it was. He still bought the truck but negotiated the price down!

Being retired, this is the only way we'll will go, when looking for a "newer" vehicle.

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By Guest (Guest Post)
August 3, 20050 found this helpful

Even if it is a Used Car, do your research!!!! Make sure that you find exactly what you want, whether it be something to get you from A to B or something that has a couple more "horses" under the engine. If you go into (I think that's the web site) do research on the cars that you are interested in and watch for ratings. (Safety is always important to look at.) They always say "You get what you pay for", which is true. I got a base Mazda 3, a car that has style but is low-cost and really saves gas, a great thing nowadays.

Another thing is when you buy used, try a used car that is "gently used". It's already been broken into, has low mileage, and is thousands of dollars less than driving it out of a dealership in new condition. You save a ton of money that way.

As always, test drive the car, ask a TON of questions and make sure that the sales person is answering all of them (if that is the case, of course). If they don't know the answers, they don't know what they're doing.

Another thing. Between dealerships and personal sellers, it may be cheaper buying from someone on the other side of town, but with a dealer you get a warranty for a little while at least, just walk in smart and know your stuff. Then, they will be well aware that you know what you're talking about and they can't possibly scam you. Dealers have a bad reputation, and walking in there and knowing your stuff makes you five times better off than walking in blind.

One last thing, make sure that it is within your budget. I budget by pay periods (bi-weekly). I figure out what bills are due for that time and then theres regular expenses and maybe a birthday or wedding or something somewhere, budget that too and set it aside. When you have a couple of cars in mind, go online and use the payment calculator to see whereabouts your monthly payment will come up to. THEN, take that number, and add that to your bills and see if you can afford it. Budget budget budget, ugh, I hate that word, as do a lot of people, but it makes life that much more comfortable.

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By Joan in CT (Guest Post)
August 3, 20050 found this helpful

Before I purchase any used car I make sure the seller will allow me to take it to my mechanic for a thorough checking out. If not, I simply walk away.
If they are afraid of what my mechanic will say or find, I don't want it anyway. I also ask my mechanic if he knows of any cars he's worked on for sale. We got two really great cars that way. Good luck.

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By Lewis (Guest Post)
August 5, 20050 found this helpful

Thank you folks. Your advice was very helpful.

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By Meg (Guest Post)
August 5, 20050 found this helpful

Here's what I did:

1) Searched on auto-trader
2) Bought the unlimited CarFax for one month deal (I ran over 40 vehicles!)
3) Learned a lot by comparing Edmunds and the Kelly Blue Book (both online).

And got a "asking price" of $6,900 to an even $5,800 for my 1998 Nissan Sentra and a set of four snow tires! I can highly recommend Sentras . . . especially because I get about 30 mpg around town and usually over 40 mpg highway. With gas costing as much as it does, my little car is worth its weight in gold!

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August 14, 20050 found this helpful

Depending on where you live always check under the car make sure everything looks good. I live in NY and one time my father went to go see cars and he saw one that looked really good and the price was good also, so he wondered what was wrong with it! It seemed to good to be true....he checked everything and all was ok, he decided to get on his knees and look under the car and as expected something was wrong! it was all rusty and eatten up! Due to all the salt that is thrown on the ground when in snows! So check everything!!! Good luck!

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November 18, 20050 found this helpful

Check step-by-step used car buying guide. Learn, where to look for a car, how to choose the right one, how to check car history using the VIN number, what to look for when buying a used car. Learn at this article "Buying a Used Car and Maintaining It" -

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June 4, 2004

My son is saving up for a car. He's not going to have a lot of money to spend so it's going to have to be a cheap, used car. Anyone have any car buying tips for buying a car through the paper? I have never done it before, i bought my car at a lot.

Thank you,
Ruth in CA


By macky (Guest Post)
June 5, 20040 found this helpful

Determine your needs first.
How far will you be driving daily.
How mechanically inclined is the driver.
Factor in your insurance, compare prices.
know and understand the features of the car you need.
Look into auctions, rental car re-sales. re-possessed. Advertise your needs at old age homes and retirement centers

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By Joe (Guest Post)
June 6, 20040 found this helpful

Find someone who knows something about car mechanics to come with you when you look at cars in the paper. I would watch the paper for a few weeks and develope a profile of the type of car you want to find based on the the amount of money you have to spend and then be patient. When buying a used car it's important to know the status of the tires, brakes, shocks, muffler, alternator and timing belt. Most mechanics offer a Used Car Diagnosis, they used to be 50 bucks, not sure what they are now. They will check most of this out.

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By Linda (Guest Post)
June 7, 20040 found this helpful

For a small fee you can research cars history (prev. owners, accidents, etc.) re : VIN number. Also make the sale pending a check by your own mechanic. Also, some cars are way cheaper to insure for everyone, and esp. young drivers.

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By Lizzy (Guest Post)
June 7, 20040 found this helpful

Everything said about mechanical condition is important but I want to add that altho old and small, Ford Festivas are very economical. They get 40 to 50 miles per gallon, are very inexpensive to insure, buying tires is inexpensive and property taxes (if applicable in your area) are low. I have an 89 that has over 100,000 miles but is very dependable and comfortable. My husband drives a 91 model and thinks it is more peppy. We have a much newer Dodge pickup and a 1992 Oldsmobile but I actually prefer driving the Festiva as I can park it anyplace and don't worry about dings from other cars in parking lots etc. Many young people think such cars are beneath them unfortunately.

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By Bj (Guest Post)
June 7, 20040 found this helpful

WE have had 4 1989 Olds 98 cars. Kinda sporty so our kids all drove them in high school. All of them got over 200,000mi. on them, mine now has 272,000. Cheap insurance, 21mpg in town, 25+ mpg on road. 2 of them were purchased with over 100,000mi. on them. The 1st one was a 1986 and had transmission problems just as consumer reports said. We like the bigger size for protection for our kid drivers.

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By Anna (Guest Post)
June 8, 20040 found this helpful

We have run into two problems with buying used cars. First, check the availability of parts. My son found that he loves his older Jeep Wagoneer but CANNOT find parts. This has turned into quite a problem; we have looked everywhere! Then my other son bought an older Mercedes for a very good price, but the replacement parts are incredibly expensive, too expensive for him.

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August 1, 2009

Is there tax deduct for buying a certified used or used car this year?

By Liru wang from Warren, NJ

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March 4, 2005

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