While many people might prefer to buy a new car, it often makes much more financial sense to buy one that is pre-owned. Used cars -- whether sold privately or through a dealership -- may have some issues that newer cars won't, but more often than not, they are less expensive and easier to purchase. So if you're checking out pre-owned cars for sale, take a look below at some invaluable tips to keep in mind during the purchasing process.
Get a History Report
Before you do anything else, you should run a history report on the vehicle you're looking to buy. There's no sense in putting down a few thousand dollars on a car or truck if you're not willing to spend a fraction of the purchase price on a quality history check. If the owner or dealer you're thinking of buying from can't or won't provide you with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), then don't waste any more of your time. Failing to get a history report means you have no idea if the car has been in a wreck in the past or whether it has serious structural problems. A history report can let you know if the car has been rebuilt and whether it has received the car it should.
For many people, one of the more attractive aspects of buying from a dealership rather than from a private party is the fact that dealerships offer 'certified' cars and trucks. What many don't know is exactly how the dealership defines that term. Some may run a hasty check on the car and slap a minimum warranty on it. Others may go all-out with their certification process and offer an excellent product as a result. So if you're buying from a dealership, find out exactly what has gone into certifying their pre-owned vehicles and what (if any) warranty you can expect. The more thorough the dealership's process, the better.
Get a Trusted Second Opinion
Even if you feel that you've given a particular vehicle a thorough check yourself, there's no harm in getting a second opinion from a trusted mechanic. A reliable individual or dealership should have no problem letting you take their vehicle to your own mechanic to have it checked out before you sign on the dotted line. If they're against that idea, it may be best to move on to another car that you can feel more comfortable buying. After all, it's hard to put a price on peace of mind.