FTC Used Car Buying Guide

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FTC Used Car Buying Guide 2017

If you’re in the market for a used car, but don’t know where to begin, the FTC welcomes you to its new webpage, ftc.gov/usedcars.

The page is chock-full of free information on everything from comparing cars, costs, and warranties and service contracts to understanding payment options and where to report problems.

Ready to shop? Here are a few tips to help steer you in the right direction:

  • Consider your driving habits, what you’ll use the car for, and your budget.
  • Test-drive the car under varied road conditions — on hills, highways, and in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Get a vehicle history report before you buy. Vehicle history reports can tell you a lot about a used car. A report might include ownership history, whether the car was in any accidents, its repair records, and whether it ever was declared as salvage.
  • Consider getting an independent inspection by a mechanic you hire. An inspection is a good idea even if the car has been inspected by the dealer.
  • Figure out how much to pay for a used car. There are commercial services with information about the value and pricing of used vehicles, including: Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book, and the National Automobile Dealers Association Guides.
  • Look for the Buyers Guide. Dealers are required to display a copy in every used car they offer for sale, and to give it to buyers after the sale. The Guide tells you the major mechanical and electrical systems on the car, including some of the major problems you should look out for; whether the vehicle is being sold “as is” or with a warranty; what percentage of the repair costs a dealer will pay under the warranty; and to get all promises in writing. If the dealer doesn’t display the Buyers Guide, you might want to shop elsewhere.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy motoring!