Car buyers: Take these steps to avoid scams, vehicle defects
Used cars have been flying off the lots lately, but the mechanical issues that often appear later make their bargains less valuable.Posted — Updated
Americans bought a record number of used cars last year, and the growth is expected to continue. The problem is, once bought, the cars are essentially the customer's responsibility.
Unlike new cars, used cars are not protected by the "lemon law," which requires manufacturers to repair defects that affect the use, value or safety of a new motor vehicle within the first 24 months.
"Understand going in that salesmen will try to take advantage of information you give them -- like how much you can afford or if you're in a rush to buy," said Jon Linkov, an auto editor at Consumer Reports. "So never reveal anything."
It's also important to do your research and search for reliability ratings through sources like Consumer Reports' used-car marketplace. There, you can find true value of the car you want to buy by checking condition, mileage, age and equipment levels.
"Once you've done your homework, state your price," said Linkov. "If the seller won't budge, don't be afraid to walk away. You'll see how quickly you'll be given a price you can live with."
Before you sign anything, take the car to a certified mechanic, not just an oil change shop, officials say. It's worth shelling out the $100 dollars or so it'll cost for an inspection.
If the inspections reveals the car needs repairs, but you still want it, don't be afraid to demand the seller deduct the price of repairs from your offer.
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