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Things To Check Before Buying A Second-Hand Car

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Things To Check Before Buying A Second-Hand Car

Steven Pierce
October 17, 2012

Auto auctions and used cars for sale can provide the savvy deal hunter with a great find at an extremely low price. However, if you're hoping to score a great deal on a used car, it's important that you thoroughly examine the vehicle for defects and do as much research as possible about the car's history before you buy to ensure that you don't get stuck with a lemon and end up putting a lot of money into repairs.

You must find out the vehicle's history before you buy it. With independent sellers, you may be able to obtain some of the vehicle's maintenance records if the owner has kept them, or the owner may be able to tell you something about the history of the car. Not all sellers are honest, however, and you need to do as much of your own research as possible.

Whether you buy from an individual or an automobile auction, you want to get the car's VIN, or vehicle identification number, which is usually visible somewhere around the driver's side dash area, although you can find the VIN stamped on other areas of the car as well. The VIN is basically a vehicle's serial number and is always used to track the vehicle's registration, ownership and maintenance. Sometimes cars without VINs will appear at auctions, and a lack of VIN usually indicates that the vehicle has been stolen or that some major parts of the vehicle have been replaced. Don't buy a car without a VIN.

If you can find the VIN on the car or obtain the VIN from the seller, look up the vehicle's history through an online vehicle history report website such as Carfax.com. If you're responding to an advertised vehicle, you can save yourself time and effort by asking the seller for the VIN before you even go to view the car. If you are looking at cars on-site or at an auction, it can be useful to bring a smartphone with you so that you can look up the vehicle's history instantly.

Looking up the vehicle's history will allow you to find out if the car has a salvage title as well as learn more about the vehicle's history. Salvage titles indicate that the vehicle has suffered significant damage through an auto accident or natural disaster such as a flood. You want to avoid buying vehicles with salvage titles since they may have serious problems even despite having been repaired and cleaned.

This article was brought to you by Southside Auto Auctions. For more information about affordable Used Cars for sale, visit us at http://www.southsideautoauctions.com.au/ .

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