How College Students Can Avoid Buying a Lemon Used Car

College students can be easy prey for used car dealers. Used car dealers recognize the lack of life experience for the young car buyer, so college students who are looking to purchase a new or used car need to be properly prepared. Before even heading to the dealer, do some research and have in mind what type of car you want. Do you need a car that has a lot of room for carting stuff back and forth from college? Then do not allow yourself to be swayed by a trendy new sports car! Do you travel long distances on a regular basis? With gas at three dollars a gallon, something with good gas mileage is a must!

Once you have an idea about what you want to buy, it is time to head to the dealer. Be armed with some sort of used car checklist. Always examine your car in the sunlight. This will give you the clearest look at the body of the car. Here are some of the things you will want to look for when inspecting your potential car:

�· Look for a car that has mileage that would average to less than 15,000 miles per year.

�· The oil should be red or brown, not black.

Ã?· Check underneath the car for frame damage. This is a good indication of the car’s accident history.

�· Make sure, if required in your state, that the car has all of its inspection stickers up-to-date.

�· Check to make sure the air conditioner works. Air conditioner repairs are extremely costly!

�· Listen to the engine.

�· Pay close attention to how well the brakes work. Brake work is another costly repair.

�· Take the car to a mechanic for a once-over. If the dealer is not willing to let you do this, perhaps he has something to hide. This will cost around a hundred dollars, but it is well worth it!

�· Get a Car Fax history report for your car. Another expense that will save you money in the long run.

�· Look for a car that had high ratings when it was new.

�· If possible, avoid private sales, as they are unregulated. If you get a lemon, you will have no recourse. The exception to this rule, of course, is if you are dealing with a trusted friend or family member.

Ã?· Don’t be afraid to negotiate! Do your homework first so you know what is a fair price. Start negotiating lower than the fair market price.

Ã?· Avoid a car that has been “salvaged.” Most likely this means it was in an accident.

Ã?· Test-drive the car on several terrains. Do not just take it “around the block.” Drive it on the freeway, in town, and on roads you will be driving frequently. Get a feel for how it handles under a variety of road conditions.

�· Watch out for cars with broken windows or tires that do not match. This can be an indication that the previous owners did not care properly for their car.

The Federal Trade Commission warns students and other first-time buyers about a possible scam run by some dealers. These dealers offer financing to first-time buyers or buyers with bad credit. What they often do is either require a large down payment, or tag on a high interest rate.

Watch out for over-enthusiastic salespeople. If you are told, “Better buy now because I have two more people interested in this one,” don’t let it make your decision. This statement could possibly be true, but the likelihood is that the particular car in question is one that has a high profit margin on it. Remember that finding a reliable car in your budget is the most important part of used car shopping. Be prepared before you go, and the process of looking for a great used car can be significantly less frustrating, no matter how young you are!

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