The benefit to buying a used car is you can find a great deal on a car that’s already taken the depreciation that will take place. Typically over the first three years a car is on the market is when it depreciates the most. This means the used car you buy is one that you can drive for many miles and as long as you keep up with the regular scheduled maintenance and don’t end up in an accident, the car will keep its value fairly well for you. Of course, buying a used car can be tricky as well. Here are some tips you should use when buying a used vehicle:

Take a Friend – Shop with someone else you know. This will avoid you being told something by the salesperson that ends up not being true at all. Having another set of eyes can help you figure out the right vehicle as well, especially if the friend you take can point out the negatives about the vehicle you’re considering.

Understand “as-is” – Most states allow sales of used vehicles or other products that are sold “as-is.” This means the seller has no obligation to you or to any repairs that may come up after the sale has been completed. You need to be prepared for some repairs in your future and want to check an “as-is” car over very carefully.

Books for Value – The most famous of the three books is the bluebook, but there is also a red book and a black book all of which are made to help you determine the value of the vehicle. Check these books and the price being asked so that you can have a good idea what the vehicle you’re looking at should cost you.

Recalls – Check the NHTSA website to see if the car has any open recalls on it. You can enter the VIN and see if the recalls have been completed already. Even if you have a vehicle that has free recalls on it you still don’t need to drive off the lot in a vehicle that might be unsafe for the road and need to be in the shop right away.

Title – If you’re buying a car from an individual you need to see the title to make sure it’s a clean title in their name. This is a legal document and if the person selling the vehicle is not the title holder, you need to walk away from the sale because it could seriously present you with problems in the future when you’re trying to get a title for the vehicle.

Test Drive – Take the car for a test drive on the highway and make sure you use all functions of the vehicle. You need to make sure everything works properly before you buy the vehicle from anyone. Take the car out and let it loose, check the air conditioning, all the windows, the locks, etc. Put it through it the paces because you’re going to live with this car daily.

Inspection – It may cost you a little money but you need to have your car inspected by a mechanic before you buy it. Take it to a mechanic you trust and let them look it over and tell you everything that’s wrong with the car so you can make the decision whether or not to buy this particular model.

Meaningless Conversation – Most of us don’t read every line of a purchase agreement but all of them have one thing in common; anything verbal is not enforceable against the seller. If the seller tells you they’ll take care of something you need to get it in writing and have it as part of the purchase agreement otherwise it won’t happen.

Avid Add-Ons – The dealer might have everything you need including GAP insurance and an extended warranty but you need to know this is one way they make money. A dealer isn’t going to sell something they don’t also make a profit on and items that you may never use, such as the warranty, typically offer a large amount of profit margin for the dealer to enjoy.

Internet Ads – If you’re using an ad from the internet to purchase the vehicle you need to print out the ad before you head to the individual or dealer. This will help you when the dealer or individual attempts to avoid honoring the language used in the ad, including the price of the vehicles for sale.