Use Your Head When Buying a Used Vehicle

The cost of acquiring a vehicle often drives people to contemplate buying a used vehicle. Saving money is fine but minimizing headaches is even better. Apply these tips in your search for a used vehicle:

□ Purchase a full Autocheck vehicle history report or Carfax report for the vehicle.

□ Review the Consumer Reports Buying Guide, Car and Driver magazine, or another similarly reputable source in learning about your vehicle.

□ Research websites such as,, and in negotiating the vehicle price.

□ Ask the seller for all vehicle service and maintenance records.

□ Avoid Internet-only sales or other transactions where you do not see the vehicle in person prior to purchase.

□ If buying from an individual, demand to see the original vehicle title.

□ Hire a mechanic or vehicle inspector to check the vehicle. Have the inspector provide you with a written inspection report and use it in your negotiations with the seller.

□ Get all promises of repairs, warranties, and vehicle service in writing.

□ Have the seller state in writing if the vehicle has ever been salvaged, flood damaged, reconstructed, or damaged in a collision.

□ Obtain vehicle financing through your bank or financial institution. Avoid seller-financing.

□ If you are dealing with a vehicle dealer, ask for at least a 30-day warranty. Get a written warranty signed by the seller specifically identifying all vehicle systems that are covered.

□ If you buy a vehicle “as is”, strongly consider getting an extended warranty.

□ Get a sales contract signed by you and the seller that lists the following: full names and addresses of you and the seller(s); vehicle year, make, model, color, and VIN number; date of purchase, odometer reading, purchase price and all taxes and fees paid (and by whom); interest rate and all financing terms.

For more resources and information on vehicle issues visit the O’Neal Law Office Free Information Center at  If you experience vehicle fraud, vehicle repair problems, wrongful vehicle repossession, or other vehicle-related problems contact Attorney John O’Neal at (336) 510-7904.


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