Consumers take precautions when buying a used car

Buying a used car from a dealer or private party car can be risky. How do you know the car you’re purchasing doesn’t have any title defects or other problems? What if the car you’re buying had once been stolen or salvaged, damaged in a flood, fire or accident, has had an odometer rollback, or was once used as a taxi or rental?

Dave Nemtuda, a seventeen-year automotive veteran and director at Experian Automotive, provides some expert advice to consumers to help them protect themselves and their wallets when purchasing a used car:

Be Prepared and Well Informed. Scour the Internet to uncover as much information as possible on each car model and year you’re considering. Some model cars may be known to suffer from transmission or suspension problems after a certain milestone. Ask the seller detailed questions and don’t be afraid to show your knowledge of the car.

Check the Car’s Vehicle History. Checking the vehicle’s history is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself. An AutoCheck Vehicle History Report, for example, pulls data from multiple sources, including State Department of Motor Vehicles, auto auctions and dealers, and tells you if the car has been stolen or salvaged, suffered from major accident damage, or has experienced odometer tampering, among other hidden title defects. You can enter a car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at AutoCheck to purchase a detailed vehicle history report for the car.

Look for a Vehicle History Provider that Insures the Title of the Car. While you can purchase a vehicle history report from several providers, Experian AutoCheck is the only company that provides an insurance policy that will buy back the car for up to one year if a major hidden title defect is not disclosed on a "clean" vehicle history report, subject to the policy’s terms and conditions. First American Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, underwrites AutoCheck with Buyback Insurance, which ensures you superior protection at no extra cost or risk.

Ask Someone Knowledgeable to Inspect the Car for You. Oftentimes we find ourselves about to purchase a car, yet we know little about cars. Ask a knowledgeable friend, relative or a reputable outside expert to help you inspect the car prior to purchase.

Carefully Review Paperwork. You should carefully review all paperwork, especially when buying from a private owner. Make sure there are no registered liens against the vehicle and check with the vehicle registration authorities to make sure the car is being sold by the person who holds the actual title. Also, inquire about any dealer warrantees that might be transferable so you can take advantage of available protection.

Educating and protecting yourself gives you confidence and peace of mind in your used car purchase decision. A little work up front will go along way in defending you against costly repairs down the road.

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