How To Buy A Used Car

Buying a used car is not a simple process like reading the reviews in Hearst Corp owned print magazines regarding your next new car and making a decision based on the results of comparisons that are in turn based on advertising dollars....  Buying a used car is a much more complex process that involves searching websites, dodging scammers on the web, liars on the phone and cannibals in person.  But we've broken the basic requirement in 6 steps as follows:

Step 1:  Research: Know why you want what you want.

This feature will focus on your pre-search research that everyone should do - including understanding what options, availability, and specs are for you car - we will point you to the best websites and best people to call (yes - there are people who will pickup the phone and explain to you why you shouldn't buy a particular SAAB...or any SAAB for that matter...).  We also have created a handy guide for creating a value matrix.

Step 2: The Hunt, Searching for your next ride.

We give you some tips on finding a good example of the car you are searching for...obviously you can wait for it to appear on the Daily Turismo - but you have tons of other options to finding that AMC based BatMobile you've always wanted. 

Step 3:  First Contact:  How to screen potential cars via web/phone/email

Now that you've found 50 versions of the car you are looking for you need to narrow them down to a few that you want to contact, test drive etc - we give the tips on how to weed out the junk and how to approach a seller.  We also give you to ability to understand what kind of seller you are dealing with and how likely they are to tell the truth.

Step 4:  Test Drive:  How to inspect a car in person (or by remote PPI) and how not to be taken for a ride on the first date.

We give you the goods on what to do when you take a look at the car you are buying -- including key items you always want to check and a detailed checklist of other things you need to look at. Special guest post by Ian and Kim Lomax of Jewel or Jalopy.

Step 5:  The Art of War: How to negotiate and get what you want without getting eaten.

Okay - you found the car you want and now you want to buy it - we give you some advice on buying a car via the old fashioned face-to-face method or via the newfangled 'the ebay' internet based auction house and how to avoid getting hosed.   Mostly we try to give you hints on how to avoid lunatics who have posted craiglist ads to lure you into their trailer parks so that they can kill, gut, cook and eat you....

Step 6:  Homestretch:  First things to do with a new car and how to avoid common pitfalls.
Now that you've bought that 1973 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham edition you've always wanted we give you some tips on how to get proper insurance for a unique classic and how to quickly find the relevant information about preventive maintenance and other things you want to do with your new ride.

DT will create a detailed article for each one of those steps in the next few weeks and publish each one as they are finished - and we invite commenters to add helpful information in the comments.  If the comments are helpful or hilarious we will add them to the general text of the article.  This article will be a permalink on the main page menu bar for future reference.

So many Volkswagens to chose from...

If you have an idea for a DT Special Feature and you'd like to contribute: please email us here:


  1. ~ i'm anxiously looking forward to this series of articles. i began buying cars before i could legally drive. it is an exhilarating science with myriad hidden stumbling blocks. some mistakes are so simple and so subtle i've been unable to avoid them after hundreds of deals. luckily, we are never too old or too smart to learn.
    ('that AMC based BatMobile''re not gonna let that go, are you?)

  2. To bad the cars in the photo are not VW's!

  3. Considering the cars you typically feature, perhaps you should add a Step 7: "Hiding it from your spouse," or "How to talk your spouse into that 5th car."

  4. Truly, this article is really one of the very best in the history of articles. I am a antique ’Article’ collector and I sometimes read some new articles if I find them interesting. And I found this one pretty fascinating and it should go into my collection. Very good work! buy used cars

  5. Hi, I find reading this article a joy. It is extremely helpful and interesting and very much looking forward to reading more of your work.. used cars in dubai

  6. Some truly wonderful work on behalf of the owner of this internet site , perfectly great articles . check this link right here now


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