Ten Steps For Buying A Used Car Without Getting Screwed

Jalopnik asked its readers for tips on buying used cars. The best of them have been compiled in a list every inexperienced car buyer should learn. Here's a sample:

Something to look for is a car that was purchased at the dealership where it was originally sold. This means a few things.

1. The customer had a good experience the first time they purchased, good enough that they would come back and do it again.
2. The service records may be available on the vehicle. Contrary to popular belief dealerships do not share service records with each other. The customer might keep them and if they did, that's typically the only way you'll know if the vehicle was taken care of. If the customer returned to the dealer they usually also use them for service.
3. The dealership knows the customer and can answer more detailed questions about the vehicle and how it was used.  

A lot of it boils down to "take it slow and do your research," but the details will help a lot. Link -via Digg

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My four steps to buying beaters

1. Never spend more than $1000 (hope for $500)
2. Make sure it's not warm when you look it over and then test drive thoroughly
3. look for a car that has a good set of tires
4. purchase

Driving beaters is quite risky but if you choose a good vehicle, pay attention to it, and take care of it it could last you years and if you're lucky (and it still runs) you could sell it for the same amount you bought it
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