Tips For The Used Car Shopper

DON’T contract to buy from an auction, UNLESS the vehicle is bought ‘SUBJECT TO MECHANICAL INSPECTION’.
DON’T sign a purchase agreement which states ‘DEPOSIT NON-REFUNDABLE’, unless your seller will negotiate terms based on mechanical discovery.
tester on car seatDON’T pay by cash.  Pay by personal, certified, or a bank teller’s check, if possible.
DON’T make payments payable to any entity other than the one from which you are buying the vehicle. If that entity is a dealer, make checks payable to the EXACT name on the dealer’s license.
DO ask questions including proof of any claims regarding a vehicle’s history.  Understand that vehicle history reports are ONLY as accurate as a previous owner’s reporting effort.  NOT all accidents get reported to a common database, nor do all insurance companies turn in accident appraisal reports.
DON’T leave a cash deposit; use traceable funds.
DO write on your deposit check “SUBJECT TO MECHANICAL EVALUATION.”
DO ask if a seller is a dealer.  If a vehicle you are considering does not have plates on it, ask why.  If there are other vehicles in the area without plates on them, you can be fairly sure that person is a dealer.
DO check with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (800-424-9393 or to check for recalls on a vehicle you are considering.  There are also resources throughout the Internet of which to utilize.
DO get ALL agreements in writing.  Verbal promises are almost always impossible to prove in case of a dispute.
DO check if any recalls have not been performed, or for service updates which can now be done AT NO CHARGE TO YOU.
DO check to see if you can transfer remaining warranty, where applicable.
DO check CONSUMER REPORTS buying guide,, or similar, for additional information on your vehicle.
DO review a vehicle as best you can AND test-drive (if local) BEFORE calling AUTO CRITIC.  If purchasing via the Internet, try to have familiarity of your chosen vehicle’s driving characteristics.  If a vehicle is “certified,” at least request that survey; unintentionally, items may be overlooked in that process.
DO wonder why a seller suggests a vehicle need NOT BE INSPECTED. Was it that seller’s personal car that he/she will back 100% against any flaws or previous damages?
DO look for peace of mind when purchasing a vehicle of unknown history.
DO call AUTO CRITIC if you have any questions about our service or any aspect of your purchase.  We will attempt to help you in any way we can.