Buying a used car can save you thousands of dollars, but it could also cost more than you bargained for if you don't know what to check before buying.

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Buying a used car can be a great experience if you know how to do it properly. Most sellers who are looking to get cash for cars are upfront and honest about the condition of their vehicle, but the careful buyer knows not to take their word for it at face value.

Trust but verify when you’re on the hunt for a used car. If you’re looking to buy from a dealer who offers certified used vehicles, then you have some additional assurances and guarantees as to the actual condition of your purchase. But that doesn’t mean you need to be complacent, either.

No matter who it is you’ve considered making a deal with for a used car you still want to cover yourself to avoid headache or even buyer’s remorse later on down the line. So before you hand over your cold hard cash, conduct a few inspections of your own first. Here are just a few you’ll want to consider ahead of closing the deal.

Take a Test Drive

This is the first thing you do, no matter if it’s a new car or something you’re checking out in a junk yard in New Oxford. You want to see how it drives on the road, put it through some paces to detect its responses, pump the brakes, feel the handling, and listen for any noises it makes. Does everything on the dash light up? Is the radio in good working order? If there a power windows and locks, try them out as well. Act as if you’re driving the car once you own it.

Check for Leaks

After you’re done with the test drive, park and let the vehicle idle for about a minute or two. Then pull forward and shut it off. Step out and look at the ground where it stood for that minute. Are there any fresh liquids? If so, something is leaking and that could cost you more in repairs.

Bring it to a Mechanic

This is crucial for buying from a private owner or salvage yard in New Oxford and most sellers will let you take it to a local garage to get the car looked at by a trusted professional. A mechanic will know what to look for with respect to any possible issues under the hood and any components that might need repair or replacement in the near future. He or she will also be able to tell you if the car is even worth the asking price.

Show Me the CARFAX

Get a vehicle history report. It will tell you if the vehicle has been in any major accidents, give you the names of prior owners, alert you to any change of title issues – the works. You can find these reports online from any number of databases, CARFAX being the largest and most comprehensive on the market at the moment.