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On Your Side: Tips for buying a used car

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -The pandemic-related computer chip shortage isn’t expected to end anytime soon, and it’s having an impact on the production of new cars and trucks.

As a result, the used-car market is hotter than ever. But pre-owned cars can sometimes have problems. Consumer Reports’ car experts share some advice to help you determine whether a used vehicle is a good value or potential trouble.

First, do your research on current pricing and deals on several models to increase the chance of finding what you want.

Also, don’t be tempted to rush into a purchase when you find the used car you’ve been looking for at a great price. If it’s too good to be true, you know the rest.

When buying any car, check for open recalls at nhtsa.gov/recalls. You can also get a vehicle history report. But the best way to ensure that a car is roadworthy is to have it inspected by an independent mechanic before you buy.

Try to get as many guarantees about the condition of the vehicle in writing in case you end up in court. But here’s a sliver of good news if you’re trading in your old car: That spike in used-car prices means that dealers are trying to snap up as many used cars as they can to satisfy customer demand. Dealers are most keen on finding vehicles under 5 years old, with resale prices for trucks and SUVS especially strong.

Buyer beware if you purchase a car from an individual, especially through an online ad. Take a trusted friend with you, like one who knows about cars, so they can give it a good look.

If you buy from a lot, most will have you sign a ‘sold as is’ document. It means just what it says. Perhaps leave with an additional written agreement on what do if it breaks down.

In Missouri, the lemon law does not apply to used cars.

In Arkansas, it does, but only for a certain amount of time and mileage. It also depends on the problem.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

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