I’ve covered a variety of used car buying issues here and in my podcasts. So, I have created a single podcast where I list all the things you can do to protect yourself when buying a used car. Follow this and the odds of getting ripped off drop significantly.
And here are the items on the checklist (which are detailed in the podcast and video):
Research the car and price: don’t just shop by price and never buy a car without researching known problems with that particular make and model.
Check Carfax (or equivalent), keeping in mind that these are not conclusive.
Run the VIN through NHTSA.gov to see about recalls and TSBs.
Test drive the car as you would drive the car in daily use. Not just around the block at 20 MPH.
Get the vehicle inspected by a mechanic.
Ask to see the title before you agree on a price to make sure the title is clear, clean and that the car is owned by the seller. (And if not, you should at least know that the seller is a curbstoner.)
Understand if the purchase is As-Is and, if it is, budget for the possibility of problems which may arise.
Don’t just do some of these things. Do all of them. As I explain here:
For the audio:
And the video:
Follow me on Twitter: @stevelehto
Hear my podcast on iTunes: Lehto’s Law
Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 24 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation.
This website may supply general information about the law but it is for informational purposes only. This does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not meant to constitute legal advice, so the good news is we’re not billing you by the hour for reading this. The bad news is that you shouldn’t act upon any of the information without consulting a qualified professional attorney who will, probably, bill you by the hour.