One of the biggest issues I see financially for people is cars. I have seen new car loans of 6-7 years now that are $400-$500 a month. Yikes how can you afford to do that even if you plan on driving it to the ground. My personal rule is buying a car several years old and then driving it into ground. I currently have a 2001 mini van that I purchased in 2005 and my husband vehicle is 2005 purchased in 2009.
A big excuse I hear from people is that you are buying someone's else problems when you buy a used car. Not necessarily the case if you do your research!
We have all seen the commercials with the little fox popping up between a salesman and the customer telling the dealer to show the carfax. Carfax is the leading database on automotive histories and provides the history of the vehicle including accident damage, number of owners, mileage markings at various stages, then a vehicle has been declared a total loss, as well as service and maintenance history. Most dealerships have access to Carfax and use it regularly themselves and give access to customers for FREE! . Request to see the Carfax report, as any retail seller will have it. If a dealer doesn't willingly supply you with the report you may want to look at another car or dealer. If you do your homework on- line before going to the dealer or you are purchasing from an individual that may not have a report for you, you can access it for about $30 by going to the website; all you need to do is have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Warranty History Report
Running a Warranty History Report is second nature to an authorized dealer. The report will list all repairs performed on a vehicle throughout the warranty period. It is best to buy a used car from the dealer that sells the same brand of new cars so if you are buying a used Chevy, try to buy it from a Chevrolet new car dealership. If you are buying a Chevy from a Toyota dealer -you can take the VIN from one dealer and walk into another. Ask the service department for a warranty history report which will show all the repairs the vehicle had under warranty.
Bring a Mechanic
It doesn't hurt to take your own mechanic with you when examining a used car. Have them in to look at the car, drive it, check under the hood and look underneath the carriage. A well trained mechanic can tell if the vehicle has been properly maintained or if it has been damaged in an accident, and they will tell you what you can expect in the way of repairs.
Read All Paperwork
Whether the car you buy is new or used, there is a plethora of papers that have to be signed. There is no better time for a dealer to slip something past you, such as a disclosure that says "the dealer has made no representations regarding the history of this vehicle." If you followed the advice above, and got answers to your questions, the dealer did indeed make representations about the vehicle, and it would be foolish to sign or initial something saying he did not.