- Test-drive and LOVE the car
- Check car-fax
- Have your mechanic do a pre-buy inspection
- Negotiate a good price
Unless you're a mechanic yourself don't trust yourself to find everything wrong with it. Spend the $60-$80 to have your mechanic check it. It's well worth it. It saved me from buying 2 cars needing 2k-4k worth of work.
Car fax is nice, but I consider it PRETTY worthless. I brought a 2000 F150 and it looked perfect and car-fax didnt show a thing. My mechanic found out that 3 out of 4 doors had been replaced. Hood replaced. Leak in transmission. I drove it STRAIGHT back to the dealership and didn't look back.
Here's my advice to you.
-Test drive the car
-Negotiate a fair price
*BEFORE SIGNING THE PAPERS!!!*
Tell the seller/dealership that you wish to have a clause put in the contract.
Upon Buyer's Mechanic Approval.
If they want to make a sale bad enough they will do this. Drive the car back home and have your mechanic do the pre-inspection.
If you want the car so bad and the seller won't let you do this, then find a local mechanic before you drive 2 hours.
also check to see if the ball lower ball joints are getting loose. usually if you go over bumps it will make a clunck noise in the front end. i'd defiantly drive it with the radio and the fan off so you can hear any and all noises. sometimes if you catch things like that and the seller/dealer didn't know about it you can get the price lowered. but yeah just take your time looking it over.
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