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For many drivers, purchasing a used vehicle is a smart option financially. Most used cars are still in good shape with an attractive price tag, so many people choose to shop used over new for their next vehicle. Plus, with nearly all used listings posted online, you can find an excellent deal quickly. We've put together a guide to buying used with a few points to take into consideration before signing off on the paperwork. Keep reading to learn more!

Research and Wait

If you can, wait before buying a used car. This may be difficult, especially if a car is a pressing need, but being patient could possibly save you more money in the long run. Buyers who know the market stand a better chance of scoring a better deal, rather than hopping blindly onto the first opportunity that they see. Tailor your searches to your local area so that you can save yourself a trip for a vehicle you may not even purchase.

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Calculate the Value

Online trade appraisal tools like Kelley Blue Book® and Edmunds can help determine the value of the vehicle you've been eyeing. They can calculate a good price for the make and model you want, based on the model year, mileage and condition, so you can make an informed offer when negotiating.

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Determine the Vehicle’s History

Be sure to ask for the vehicle's CARFAX Vehicle History Report™ from the seller. We recommend meeting the seller and seeing the vehicle in-person before you buy, and receive the history report face-to-face, especially if you're considering a private party. The CARFAX™ will give a detailed history of the car's repairs, if it's been in any accidents, mileage with each oil change and the scheduled maintenance. What you see on the report will help you determine the vehicle's value.

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Look Under the Hood

One step you should never skip is having the car inspected by a professional before you buy. Bring a mechanic with you to meet the seller or meet at a mechanic's shop for an on-the-spot inspection. If these options are unavailable to you, be sure to check for unusual noises or vibrations (such as squeaking, creaking, popping, etc.), any smells (burning or fermenting) or sights (leaky batteries, oil dripping under the vehicle). Mechanical problems could cost more than the car is worth, so if you think that there are problems with the engine or transmission, it's best to walk away from the offer.

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Upon Further Inspection

While cosmetic blemishes may cost less, they can still cause headaches you don't want to deal with. If possible, meet the seller during the day for better lighting. Small dents and scratches are common. Rust, on the other hand, can be more serious, as well as mismatched doors, panels and paint colors. Inside the vehicle, check for tears in the seating, broken electrical systems, dead light bulbs or any moldy odors. The car may need a thorough cleaning, or it may point to larger issues as well.

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Take a Long Test Drive

After the inspection, start the engine and take the vehicle for a test drive. Spend some time on the road and be sure to ask the seller good questions. Be sure to test out the brakes, and make a note that they work properly and don't pull the car to either side. Take the vehicle on a variety of roads at different speeds, and note whether the transmission shifts smoothly. A small but important feature to also test out is the air conditioning or heating system.

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Remember the Fees

If the used vehicle you've been looking at has completely won you over, it's time to talk about finances with your seller. You can negotiate based on your research and strike a price, but not before you're aware of the fees, insurance costs and annual maintenance and repairs. Your seller should know the answers, and the CARFAX™ report will give some insight. You should also check with your car insurance company to find out how much this vehicle will cost you monthly.

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Did you find our Used Car Buying Guide helpful? If you have any questions about the used car-buying process or would like to test-drive our used vehicles, stop by Roc E-Z Auto at 5018 W Ridge Rd, Spencerport, NY 14559 or give us a call to set up your appointment. We look forward to serving customers from Rochester, Greece, Hilton, Churchville and Clarkson.