6 Things to Know When Buying a Used Car

Buying a new car, or a car that is new to you, can be an exciting (and exhausting) experience. It’s a lot to take in—going for test drives, comparing different options, and picking out the car that is right for you. However, a lot of people rush into to purchasing a vehicle without making sure they are getting a good deal and that they are buying a car that will last them for years to come. Take a few minutes to read through these 6 helpful tips from attorney C. Mark Warren about what to do when buying your next used vehicle.

1. Grace Periods

You may have heard that you have a 30, 60, or 90-day grace period to return a used vehicle after you have purchased it. This is a myth! Unless you have it in writing that you are being given a grace period or warranty of some kind, once you sign the paperwork, that vehicle belongs to you.

2. Value of Used Vehicle

There are two, free resources online where you can look up the current market value of used vehicles. The first is Kelly Blue Book (www.kbb.com/used-cars/). The second is NADA (www.nadaguides.com/). Don’t let someone tell you what a good deal is, do the research yourself.

3. Vehicle History Reports

You’ve heard the commercials on the television, “ask to see the CarFax!” Although there are several different companies that offer this service, asking to view a used vehicle’s history report can tell you if the vehicle has ever been in an accident, what service has been done to the vehicle, and if the vehicle has a good title or a salvage title. 

4. Consult a Mechanic

If possible, always have a mechanic look at and drive any used car that you are considering purchasing. Many times a good mechanic can diagnose possible future problems with a vehicle simply based on its condition, the way it sounds, or the way it drives. This could literally save you thousands of dollars in the long run!

5. Always Test Drive a Car

If a seller or a dealer “doesn’t want you to test drive a car,” there is most likely a reason they don’t want you driving it. Always test drive a used car before making a purchase and, if possible, test drive the car several times at different times of the day or in different weather conditions.

6. Talk to the Previous Owner

One hand pressing key on black phone
If you are able to contact them, take a few minutes to call the vehicle’s previous owner and find out why they no longer own the vehicle. Was it making a noise? Were they having problems out of it? Maybe they simply wanted to trade it in for a newer model. We can promise you that if you don’t ask, the seller won’t tell you.

Who You Buy the Vehicle From Matters!

It is very important to know the differences between buying a car from a dealer and a car from an individual and the obligations that each of these types of sellers have to you as a buyer.

  • A used car dealer has to provide you with a buyer’s guide. This buyer’s guide should inform you if there is any warranty on the vehicle, how much repair costs the dealer will pay during the warranty period, and it should inform you of any major mechanical or electrical system problems.
  • An individual does not have to tell you any of these things. If you buy a car from an individual, you buy the car “as is.”

Having Problems with a Car You Recently Purchased?

If you bought a new or used car in Tennessee or Georgia and now you are having problems or you feel like you were mislead by the seller, Warren & Griffin might be able to help you! Email C. Mark Warren at cmark@warrenandgriffin.com or call our office at (423) 265-HURT (4878).