Financial Resources

Used Cars: Evaluating and Buying

Following are some helpful reminders to use as you look for a used car to purchase. As you use these reminders, remember to take your time and shop around to find the best car and deal for you.

  • Know how much you can afford on a monthly basis. This includes the car payment, insurance, and gasoline.
  • Be sure to inspect the car carefully. Make sure you test, inspect or review the following.
    • Doors, hood and trunk
    • All lights
    • Leaks under the hood and the car
    • Moldy smell in car interior
    • Paint color differences, which can indicate the car was in an accident.
    • Seat belts
    • Exterior and interior rust
    • Car maintenance records
    • Mileage
  • Test-drive the car and evaluate the following.
    • Acceleration (from the stop position)
    • Acceleration (pass another vehicle)
    • Seat comfort
    • Heater
    • Air conditioner
    • Brakes
    • Does the car pull to the left or right?
    • Unusual noises
    • Interior controls
    • Audio system
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