Buying a Used Car from an Owner

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How Can I Prepare to Buy a Used Car from an Owner

Buying a Used Car from an Owner

Buying a used car from an owner is generally thought to be the least expensive option for getting into a car. If you are buying a used car from a private party, here are some tips to get you off to a strong start.

Research First
Before you begin contacting car owners:

  • Do some research about the kind of car you are looking for. In addition to reading auto magazines and websites, you might also want to talk with friends and family to get their opinions.
  • Know the amount of money you can comfortably afford.
Narrow Your Choices
After you have narrowed your choices to a few cars learn about:

  • Vehicle reliability
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Mileage per gallon
  • Any past recalls or technical problems (you should be able to find this information in the technical service bulletin of each car you are considering).

Contact the Private Used Car Sellers
You should ask specific questions about the car before you go forward. Examples include:

  • Who was the primary driver? (younger drivers are generally harder on cars than older drivers)
  • What was the car used for most? (Long distance traveling, back and forth to work, etc.)
  • Are service records available for review?
  • Is the title clear and in hand?



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Jolyn Wells-Moran