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Tips On How To Buy A Cheap Used Car

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Tips On How To Buy A Cheap Used Car

M. Unruh
May 31, 2006

I would like to share with you some good pointers for looking for a cheap used car or truck. The first step is to understand the word cheap. It can mean the cost of purchase is low but you end up with a money pit and then meaning of cheap becomes another meaning altogether. "Cheap, junky, crumby, crap" That we don't need! So the trick is to find the balance in a Low cost vehicle that will not turn into the "cheap and junky" car in a few months.

Here are a few hints that should help you make the wise decision. Get past that first look. I mean the color, paint, and shiny parts. Look for the stuff that matters, is it clean, dry of oil marks, well greased where it should be and not where it shouldn't. Check out the rust,,, did someone just wipe off the rusty reside or touch up the spots with paint. Look beyond the oblivious to the core of the problem, can it be contained or is already out of control and they have just covered it up to look ok for today. Ask about the past work done on the vehicle. A well-maintained vehicle can last a long time, but a vehicle that has not had regular maintance can be asking for trouble.

Have someone mechanical take a look or pay someone to do an inspection for you. The safety stuff is the important stuff to consider, Brakes, Shocks, Glass, Tires, Engine performance, (interference engine or not) Have them check the fluids to see if they smell burnt, look dirty or actually the proper fluids in there to begin with. A "special" fluid can be used to mask a serious problem.

There a lot of tips but the best one is to use common sense. Take a good look at what you want to buy, have someone else take a look and then you should have a good understanding of what you are going to purchase. At least you should know what needs work today and might need attention in a few months. After all it is a used car and they all come with some history.

Take a test drive, and really look at the car from the drives seat. Feel the road, listen for squeaks and rattles, how does it handle, accelerate and brake. Let someone else drive half way and YOU listen and feel from the passenger side. Take a moment to be realistic if this is the car for you. Is it a good fit, do you need it and will you use it. There are a lot of gems out there and with a bit of common sense and basic knowledge you can find one. There is a bum for every seat, make sure you are a good fit before you buy. Good Hunting. Marianne



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