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Video: How-to Buy a Used Car

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Watch this video to learn tips and tricks to use the next time you're looking to purchase a used car.

Video Transcript

JEN: Yeesh, I really need a car…

CAR DEALER: Hi! Hello there! Hold on a minute!

CAR DEALER: Have I got the perfect vehicle for you!

JEN: Uh, is that a question?

CAR DEALER: No question about it! Here's your dream car! It's compact, high tech, only driven by Grandma on Sundays…

JEN: No offense or anything, but I think I'm better off buying something brand-new.

CAR DEALER: On the contrary, did you know that a new vehicle can lose almost half its value in the first few years?

JEN: What? Seriously?

CAR DEALER: That brand-new car you're thinking of buying starts losing value the moment you drive it off the lot, and loses the most value in the first few years. That's why buying a car that's a few years old can be a great way to save some cash!

CAR DEALER: It's all right here in my trusty blue book.

JEN: But I don't know where that car's been.

E-CAR: Hey, watch it lady. I've been around the block a few times, sure, but I'm still in tip-top shape.

JEN: Whhhhaaaaaat? A talking car? Well, I'm sold!

CAR DEALER: Great! It's a deal! I'll go get the paperwork!

E-CAR: You know, we're really just not right for each other.

JEN: Pfft. I always wanted a talking car! We can say hi to joggers and sing songs on road trips together…

E-CAR: Whatever. What do you know about buying a used car anyway?

JEN: Just pick the newest, cheapest one. Simple!

CAR DEALER: That might just backfire on you.

E-CAR: I'm certainly not the cheapest. I don't think she gets it.

CAR DEALER: First of all, you've got to do your research. Start off by setting a realistic price range. You don't want to get stuck making monthly payments you can't afford down the road. 

JEN: I see what you did there.

CAR DEALER: Only look for makes and models that fit into your price range. Keep in mind the cost of insurance and repairs, as well as the features you actually need.

JEN: Like mega-awesome talking ability?

E-CAR: Like the junk you're hauling around… there's no way I can carry all that.

JEN: Yeah, I guess not. Maybe a roof rack, though?

E-CAR: Ugh. Roof racks are so not my style.

CAR DEALER: You may be better off with a nice hatchback. Have a look over there.

JEN: Well, this one is pretty awful, but I like the sporty one! I'll buy this one instead! I can always throw on some talk radio.

E-CAR: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Pump the brakes there, turbo.

CAR DEALER: Before you commit to a used car purchase, you should always evaluate the car. First, take a good long test drive to get a feel for the car, and to spot any immediate problems. Then get the vehicle checked by a trusted independent mechanic. Finally, get a report of the vehicle's history based on the VIN.

JEN: The… what now?

CAR DEALER: The Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, can usually be found on the driver's side where the windshield meets the dash. The VIN provides useful information on a car's accident and repair history, manufacturer recalls and vehicle use.

JEN: Wait, hold the phone! It says here this hatchback has been used to deliver bowling balls to ski resorts for years, and it once got major water damage from rolling into a hot tub! No thanks.

E-CAR: Glad you checked, aren't you?

JEN: Heck, yeah. I just wish I could afford a car as clever as you, but maybe with some more room.

CAR DEALER: We've got options for miles! Let's wheel and deal, huh?

JEN: Well, I'm no master negotiator…

E-CAR: You don't say.

CAR DEALER: Learning to effectively negotiate is very important, whether you're shopping at a dealership or buying direct from the previous owner.

E-CAR: And the most important part of negotiating is always being prepared to walk away.

JEN: Hmmm. I think I'm going to take some time, do my research and come back with the perfect game plan!

CAR DEALER: Good idea. See you then! Remember… research, evaluate, negotiate.

E-CAR: Nice job, sales guy. You sure know how to close the deal!

CAR DEALER: Oh, go take a joy ride!

E-CAR: La, la, la, la, la, la.

COACH: Grrr. I should have done my research.

JEN: Wahooo!

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