Used Cars Topeka KS For Sale
Tips on Buying a Used Car
- Learn what rights you have when buying a used car. Contact your state or local consumer protection office.
- Find out in advance what paperwork you will need to register a vehicle. Contact your state’s motor vehicle department.
- Check prices of similar models using the NADA Official Used Car Guide published by the National Automobile Dealer Association or the Kelley Blue Book. These guides are usually available at local libraries.
- Research the vehicle’s history. Ask the seller for details concerning past owners, use, and maintenance. Next, find out whether the car has been damaged in a flood, involved in a crash, been labeled a lemon or had its odometer rolled back. The vehicle identification number (VIN) will help you do this.
- Your state motor vehicle department can research the car’s title history. Inspect the title for “salvage,” “rebuilt”, or similar notations.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists VINs of its crash-test vehicles and will let you search an online database of manufacturer service bulletins.
- The Center for Auto Safety provides information on safety defects, recalls, and lemons, as well as service bulletins.
- Visit safetyforum.com for a free online search of its database of lemons registered by previous owners.
- Make sure any mileage disclosures match the odometer reading on the car.
- Check the warranty. If a manufacturer’s warranty is still in effect, contact the manufacturer to make sure you can use the coverage.
- Ask about the dealer’s return policy. Get it in writing and read it carefully.
- Have the car inspected by your mechanic. Talk to the seller and agree in advance that you’ll pay for the examination if the car passes inspection, but the seller will pay if significant problems are discovered. A qualified mechanic should check the vehicle’s frame, tires, air bags and undercarriage, as well as the engine.
- Examine dealer documents carefully. Make sure you are buying- not leasing- the vehicle. Leases use terms such as “balloon payment” and “base mileage” disclosures.
Beware: Curb Stoning & Title Washing
Curb stoning occurs when a dealer has an inferior or damaged car he can’t sell on his lot. He gives the car to a salesperson to sell through the classifieds, as if it were a private party sale. A title history report will show that the title recently changed hands and could reveal that it is a lemon or an otherwise branded car. Be suspicious if the seller’s name is different from the name on the title.
Title washing occurs when scam artists try to sell a salvage vehicle by concealing its history of damage from a buyer. Although a vehicle’s title should show if it has been damaged or salvaged, some states do not document titles in the same way as other states. By moving a vehicle and its title through several different states, con artists try to “wash” out the title branding of salvage or damage. The best way to avoid this trick is to buy only from reputable dealers and/or to get a title guarantee in writing.
Choosing a Safe Car
Crash tests can help you determine how well a vehicle will protect you in a crash. Here are different organizations that perform crash tests and rate vehicles:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crashes vehicles head-on into a wall and bashes them broadside to test their ability to protect their occupants. NHTSA focuses on evaluating vehicle restraints such as air bags and safety belts.
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety performs a different test that uses offset-frontal car crashes to assess the protection provided by a vehicle’s structure.
- Consumer Reports’ auto issue rates vehicles in terms of overall safety. Its safety score combines crash test results with a vehicle’s accident avoidance factors, such as: emergency handling, braking, acceleration, and even driver comfort.
To find out whether a vehicle has been recalled for safety defects, contact N.H.T.S.A. If a vehicle has been recalled, ask the dealer for proof that the defect has been repaired. Used vehicles should also have a current safety inspection sticker if your state requires one.