- Look at title carefully
- Check title using VIN
- Seller (does it match the person selling the vehicle?)
- Date (when was the car last sold?)
- Mileage (what was the mileage at the last time of sale?)
- Is mileage actual? Not actual? Exceeds vehicle limits?
- Any liens? (For AZ vehicles- Check azmvdnow.gov)
- Salvage Title?
- Don’t buy quickly/don’t feel rushed.
- Think it over
- At least 1 day
- Some dealerships give you time to return the vehicle if you change your mind
- Print out Carfax or equivalent -Everytime!
- Many service garages/dealerships can print this out for you for free. It is worth the cost to help avoid poor purchase decisions.
- Look for flags
- Odometer fraud-Carfax has a free odometer fraud alert
- Salvage title
- Check mileage
- Is it consistent with the odometer reading?
- Did the car sit?
- Miles unusually low/high- 12,000mi/year is standard
- Is service/oil change done consistently
- Has timing belt and other needed items been done timely
- Look at manufacturer’s service recommendations- have these been done?
- Pre-Buying Inspection at trusted garage
- Consider if needed repairs match mileage
- Cost of needed repairs?
- What do they recommend?
- Is this a model/year that has issues?
- Has an emissions inspection been completed?
- Seller reliability
- Do you know them/trust them
- Good reviews?
- How many owners? If it has been sold 5 times in the last month this is a definite issue!
- What is the vehicle worth? Look at a site like KBB or Edmunds for comparable sales and current estimated value
This list is not intended to identify all issues you could have with buying a used car. It is intended to help you think about and evaluate for yourself if you are making a choice you will not regret.