how to buy a used car usa

When you have a car checked by a mechanic and they find it needs repairs, ask the seller to have them fixed or discount the price of the car by the amount required for the repairs.
Check the seller’s driver’s license and match it with the title to make sure that the seller is really the owner of the car.
Typically, the best deals will be cars that are two or three years old, as they are still in relatively good condition and most of the depreciation (reduction in the value of the car) has already occurred.
There are many places where you can find used cars, including,,, AutoByTel, CarPoint, or Cars Direct. You can also find used cars on classifieds websites like Craigslist, Sulekha (Indian).
If the seller doesn’t let you test drive (make sure to take your driver’s license with you), you have no reason to buy the car.
If you like the car and are fine with the price, you should tell the seller that you would like to have it checked by a mechanic.
Title washing occurs when scam artists try to sell a salvage vehicle by concealing its history of damage from a buyer.
By moving a vehicle and its title through several different states, con artists try to "wash" out the title branding of salvage or damage.
Although a vehicle’s title should show if it has been damaged or salvaged, some states do not document titles in the same way as other states.
When you select a car through the Appraise a Used Car tool, it takes you to the gateway of all the information you need to make a good buying decision: pricing, reviews, specs, fuel economy and lists of standard features.
Before you contact a used-car seller, you should get a vehicle history report for the car you’re interested in buying.
If you are buying a car from a private party, you just have to make sure that payment is final and that the seller properly transfers title and registration to you.
Once you find a good prospective car, call the seller before you go to see the vehicle.
The advice and strategies here should work whether you buy from a private person, a dealer, from a leasing company, or if you buy rental cars being sold to the public.
Don’t forget that after negotiating the final price of the car, you will need to allow some extra cash to cover tax, title and tag.
We offer unique ways to help you: buy a new or used car, get an auto loan or get a trade-in value.
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Usually, the buyer and seller must appear before a motor vehicle registration official and affirm the sale, sign the papers and send the registration to the state motor vehicle bureau to be recorded.
It is difficult to buy a good reliable car at a cheap price, difficult to find insurance at a reasonable rate, and difficult to sell the car before you leave the country.
Before you drive your car in any state you must attach a valid registration tag (license plate) to the vehicle, you must affix a valid sticker to the windshield confirming that the vehicle has successfully passed the state safety inspection or air pollution test.
Most states require the owner of a motor vehicle to have a car title or certificate of ownership that must be registered with the state motor vehicle bureau.
All new cars will have a paper attached to a window with a list of all the features and options in the car and the suggested retail price of the vehicle.
Car trader magazines listing used cars for sale by dealers and individuals are available for free at most supermarkets.
Choosing a certified pre-owned vehicle gives you the benefits of having a manufacture backed inspection and warranty, as well as a great price.
Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale.
You can work out a loan with the dealership or manufacturer, but it is also possible to walk into a dealership with financing already secured through a third-party source, such as our official, preferred lender LightStream, an online lending division of SunTrust Bank, and the preferred lender of Kelley Blue Book.
Here are some suggestions: First, make a list of all the things you need your vehicle to do (haul kids, go off-road, get good gas mileage, be absolutely reliable, maintain good re-sale value, be easy to park) and then make a second list of all the things you admire in a vehicle (body style, colors, luxury options).
It always pays to shop around, so check rates with your insurance company before you buy your new vehicle, and then quote & name your price on Progressive online to compare.
You should end up with a list of required and desired characteristics, which you can use to eliminate models that won’t work for you (you can’t haul kids in a two-seat sports car or operate a full-size sport utility vehicle on an economy-car fuel budget).
Typically, sport cars, anything with "turbo" or "supercharged" in the name, higher performance vehicles with larger or more powerful engines and vehicles with four-wheel drive will give you higher insurance rates.
AutoTempest brings together the most used car listings from all the top sources on the web, helping you find your ideal car, wherever it might be listed.
A used car extended warranty can offer peace of mind, but are they worth it? Read our guide to extended warranties to find out. provides easy access to all local and online vehicle auctions, and offers a free trial.
1 If there is remaining coverage from the Audi New Vehicle Limited Warranty at the time of Certified pre-owned purchase, the Audi New Vehicle Limited Warranty provides coverage on the Certified pre-owned vehicle until its expiration, either 4 years from the original in-service date or at 50,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
With an Audi Certified pre-owned vehicle, you not only get an impressive luxury vehicle, you also get the peace of mind that comes with up to 6 years or 100,000 total vehicle miles of limited warranty coverage.
When the Audi New Vehicle Limited Warranty expires, the Audi Certified pre-owned Limited Warranty becomes effective and provides coverage for a period of 2 years or up to 50,000 miles, whichever occurs first, not to exceed 100,000 total vehicle miles.
When you own an Audi Certified pre-owned vehicle, you own a vehicle that passed a thorough 300+ point dealer inspection process and comes with a 6 year/100k limited warranty1 and competitive rates.
Audi Financial Services offers financing with competitive interest rates and terms, while our wide range of available coverage options gives you everything from extended service benefits with an Audi Pure Protection Certified pre-owned Service Contract to comprehensive protection with a Ding Shield Service Plan.
That’s a good thing for you, because while the road can be tough on any vehicle, with a comprehensive 300+ point inspection behind every Audi Certified pre-owned vehicle, you can be sure the road ahead will be paved with security.
With special financing and extended vehicle service contracts, you can add ease and certainty to your Audi Certified pre-owned experience.
When you purchase an Audi Certified pre-owned vehicle, you can count on receiving benefits that live up to our legendary brand.
That’s why Audi dealers inspect over 300 points of each Audi Certified pre-owned vehicle so you can drive with peace of mind.
From the luxury performance to our time-tested design, we’ve put together a list of the top ten reasons choosing an Audi Certified pre-owned vehicle is the right decision.
It’s just our way of making owning an Audi Certified pre-owned vehicle exceptional from start to finish.
By purchasing an Audi Certified pre-owned vehicle, you’ll have the chance to get into your ideal model at an exceptional value.
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It will be difficult to obtain insurance without a US driver's license from "standard" carriers and will likely throw your friends into the "assigned risk" market which is not only expensive but also affords only the minimum liability limits required by the state they are registering the car in.
There may be other problems – different states have different smog requirements … many cars purchased in the East may have rust damage which means they won't sell easily in California … if a big ticket problem occurs (let's say transmission goes out), they may be looking at $1,000 repair to be able to keep going.
Hertz from June 30 to August 30 is about 1000 pounds ($1700) without having to worry about buying the car, registering it, finding insurance (mandatory in California), selling the car afterwards, any maintenance problems etc.
We had this idea some years ago but come across big problems with insurance I had both UK,Australian licenses and an international driving permit with a letter from my insurance company back home (Australia) showing a full no claims bonus for many years with an excellent driving record.
It is cheaper to hire a car,we phoned every company in the book and ended up using Hertz our last choice but they were cheaper because of the length of time we hired.
First, park the car and bring in ALL documentation (everything that’s been mentioned up to this step, including the receipts, recall letter, proof of insurance, etc.). I walked into US Customs there and went to the counter and told them that I was exporting a vehicle and showed them the paperwork.
Present stamped Form 1, MCO or MSO (or DMV Title, if your vehicle is used), and Canada Customs payment form to your provincial licensing authority for registration & plates.
Before leaving the dealer with your vehicle, check that you have the temporary registration and temporary state license plates, and sales receipts.
If you have family/friends in the states then it could be much cheaper and simpler for you to simply ask them to temporarily add your name to their phone or utility bill and use this as your proof of residency and then purchase the vehicle in your name from an out-of-state dealer.
You may need a Temp plate from State to State if you’re importing a vehicle farther from the border States.
Check that the warranty for the car is also valid in Canada by calling the US side of the manufacturer and asking how the vehicle warranty would apply if you had to immediately move your American vehicle to Canada (due to possible relocation for a job, for example).
Most Toyota dealers will accept a Canadian driver’s license when purchasing the vehicle – they just need a US address with proof of residency to complete the sale.
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If you’re asked about it, you can just state that you’re transporting the vehicle to Canada on behalf of your American friend/relative.
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No duties at the border are paid on the vehicle purchased in the US unless it does not have have sufficient "North American content" – that is, parts/components made in North America.
State what you want to buy, that you need temporary tags, and that you will not pay state tax (because you will be registering the vehicle in Canada).
Email or fax your MCO or MSO (or DMV Title, if your vehicle is used), and Recall Letter, to the RIV and they will process your application and email you Form 2 the same day IF you call them with your case # (which is affixed to the top of Form 1) right away.
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Obviously you don’t want to pay the sticker price, but where, then, to begin? There’s an old negotiating adage that goes like this: "Whoever speaks first, loses." Why? Because the opening number defines the entire negotiation.
When Edmunds test drives new cars for its articles, staff photographers shoot pictures of them, and they wanted a minivan with a sunroof they could shoot out of.
Edmunds buys lots of cars for test driving purposes and Reed is the one who shops for them.
CLICK HERE to read what Phil Reed was thinking during the entire negotiating process.
"Good Morning America" teamed up with auto website and went undercover to show you, step by step, how to haggle.
I don't have any great affinity for car dealerships, let alone seeming to pimp for them, but what I can say is that if you have to get a car, there are worse places to do it.
if you're looking for a new Nissan in the city, this may be a great place to buy it.
and flat out lied to by car dealers, but the people at Royal Motors totally blew me away.
I had a great experience buying my first car with them.
A growing number of new small crossover/SUVs are fitting the needs of urban dwellers and suburbanites who like the smaller size and fuel economy of these vehicles.
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Obviously you will need to make sure that the lease includes enough miles so you don’t get stuck with a big over mileage charge at the end of the lease, but you might be surprised at the ecomics of a 2-3 year lease that lets you keep driving the latest (under warranty) technology for about the same price per month as the true cost of owning a car for 5 years or so, maybe even longer.
Yes a used car can cost about 30-70% less than new car would, in my opinion the new car is worth the extra money because you are the only one that has driven the car plus no serious maintenance for at 100,000 miles, i know i have lost a lot of money on my new car but hey it is worth the extra cost, a piece mind is worth more than a price to me, even though a used cars sells about 15 million a year in the united states one one of the two million new car buyers in the us each year who rather not have to worry about serious maintenance for atleast 100,000 miles, it is just great to have no worry.
first i’d offer the cost of bringing a used car to the level of safety of a new one – i tally the cost of fresh tires, brakes, shocks, wipers of OEM quality or better when looking at a car – if its more than a year or two old it’s likely to need these things right away if not the items you’ve purchased are already worn and will need replacing that much sooner.
“Used” doesn’t have to mean “5 years old.” I’m a big fan of 1+ years old used cars just to avoid the drive-it-off-the-lot fee, while still keeping the bulk of the value of the life of the car.
you will only touch the benefit from buying a new car, if you drive it from 5 to 10 years, then you know how much you have saved then, in my own experience I have lost a lot on changing cars for new looks, and I have only discovered how I was doing the wrong thing when I was given a company brand new car in 2001 which I still have to date, when I think how it has served me quite well, I wished I did the same with my personal one long ago.
I my car–it’s fun to drive and if I had 10x the money, I would still get it.) Because buying a car is such a big purchase, I’m fine spending a little more money and time up front to mitigate risk and get a great car that will last for a long time.
From a financial point of view, the Corolla made more sense as these cars are inexpensive, ridiculously reliable (I have two friends that have owned their Corolla’s for 3 years and so far, ZERO problems), have good resale value.
Everyone’s got an opinion on this I suppose, but I’d just like to say that my (and my wife’s) used cars were our second best financial decision since being out of college a couple of years ago (our home purchase being #1).
Ramit–if you don’t give a flip about cars one way or another (like me), what about buying one that’s a year old? Seems like you take the edge off the new car price and still get a dependable vehicle.
When my peers bought cars they bought what made financial sense, but then they weren’t happy with their car so they spent a lot of time reading magazines, and putting money into modifying their cars to the point where all the time and effort spent, they could have got the car they wanted in the first place.
I don’t think many people understand the psychological trauma of driving a car for years, that can break down at any time! That factor alone can outweight many of the “financial positives” of a used car.
That said, when I was researching new and used cars, I discovered that the price on used work horses like civics and mazdas, that you know are going to run forever, don’t decrease that much after a few years of driving (I was so not going to buy a car that was born in the 90s).
Although buying used can make sense if you are prepared to own the car for an extended period of time (more than 5 years) I personally think that 2 year old cars provide much better value.
Upon reflection though it seems that if the additional safety is worth the difference in cost now when I am older and, at least in insurance companies opinion a safer driver then it seems the “additional safety factor” would have been even more valuable to a younger (more years of life/ life disabled at risk) and higher risk driver.
Fully loaded used vehicles in pristine condition with low miles have a hard time getting 50% of their original value after 8 years Even less for common cars that are not fully loaded.
If you compare the total cost to that Honda you bought, and the exact same model that was just a year or so old, over the life of the car (from purchase to sale), you have to admit that (unless you finance the whole thing) the costs for the used car will be lower.
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