Used cars are not regulated as well as the new car industry is which leaves a lot of room for unscrupulous snake oil salesmen to enter the business. There is no lemon law for used cars so in most cases if you buy a vehicle with problems you are out of luck. With that said there are things that you can do to avoid problems. First off, doing some research first and have an idea of what you want to begin with. You should have it down to at least a certain category of vehicle and preferably down to maybe three or four models.
Check the approximate values at a site like kbb.com so you have at least some idea of what the vehicle should sell for. When shopping for a used car it is even more crucial that you shop in the daytime and in clear sunny weather so that you can see any blemishes. I have seen many cars that looked good in the rain only to reveal faded paint and blemishes in the sunlight. One thing you must realize is that there is no used car factory so you may have to make some compromises.
Do not compromise on safety and don't by a vehicle that has a laundry list of issues that you will have to repair yourself. You should always take the vehicle for a road test and if at all possible take it overnight. You should then take it to your mechanic and have them check the vehicle out and let you know what they think of it. If it has too many problems pass on it. Make safety a primary concern. Buy a vehicle that is new enough to include airbags and if possible anti-lock brakes as well.
Another big thing to watch out for especially after the flooding in Louisiana and Mississippi last year from Hurricane Katrina is flood damage. There are many crooks who will buy flood damaged vehicles and have them detailed and cleaned up and sell them as perfect. A flood damaged vehicle will be fraught with problems from engine problems to the electrical system and more. One area that is often overlooked by these crooks is the seat belt retainer cover. If you pull the seat belt all the way out you may find evidence of mildew or even mud! One of the best things to do also is to go to a dealer who uses the new Carfax system which reports any major issues that vehicle has ever had.
Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. For the quality car care products,/a> to care for your car go to http://www.stopwaxing.com