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Video:How to Buy a Used Car

with Barbara Terry

Buying a used car may feel a bit intimidating, but there are some great values out there. Learn how to distinguish the deals from the lemons so that you drive away with the best used car possible.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Buy a Used Car

Hi. I am Barbara Terry for About.com Autos. When shopping for a used car, narrow down your search by deciding on the exact make and model you are looking for and the budget you are allowing yourself to purchase that car.

Test the Used Car's Mechanics

When shopping for a good dependable used car there are key elements we will want to check out before writing that check. I always check it our mechanically first, let's pop the hood and check out the fluids and the condition of the visible belts and hoses

Check the Car's Fluids

When checking the oil make sure it has a honey brown color, if the oil is dark and goopy the previous owner probably did not have regular oil changes performed so a potential engine issue may exist so be aware.

When checking the transmission fluid the fluid should have a rich red color to its tone and should never feel gritty or grimy or like it has metal flakes in it, if it does, it may mean that the gears inside the transmission are grinding up, so be aware.

The brake fluid, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid and coolant should be at proper levels.

Survey the Used Car's Parts

The belts and hoses should never look cracked or expanded like they are going to explode or break.
  • Tires: make sure that all 4 are in good condition
  • Interior components: check out all power options, mirrors, blinkers, headlights, taillights, brake lights, air conditioner, heater, and, of course, the stereo.

Test Drive the Car Before Buying

Test drive the car to see if it fits to your liking, and if you want your mechanic to check it out that is fine too! Buying a used car can be tricky, but then again, keep in mind that it is a used car not a new one, so expect that there will be repairs needed, just keep some money aside for that.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at autos.about.com.
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