Used-Car-Buyer's Checklist

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  • Decide which make and model you want.
  • Research the asking price.
  • Find out how much it would cost to finance the vehicle.
  • Find out how much it would cost to insure the vehicle.
  • Research the prospective vehicle history using online and printed resources.
  • Interview prospective sellers before meeting them in person.
  • Set a daytime appointment.
  • Before starting the test drive, check the undercarriage, engine and body for rust or damage.
  • Check the interior for cleanliness, comfort and size.
  • Inspect the tires for wear.
  • Check the oil for the proper level and color.
  • Check the coolant and radiator for leaks or corrosion.
  • Drive on the highway to gauge acceleration and handling.
  • Test the brakes.
  • Test the steering and alignment.
  • Practice parking for maneuverability and sight lines.
  • After the test drive, inspect the engine for leaks, odors or smoke.
  • Request and review the service records, receipts and title.
  • Have a mechanic inspect the car you're thinking of buying.

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