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Purchasing a Car? Read These Tips First.

Purchasing a Car? Read These Tips First. - The Beacon


By: Amanda

Purchasing a Car? Read These Tips First.

A vehicle, new or used, can be one of the biggest purchases we make in our lifetimes so it is a good idea do a little homework and research before you make the purchase.  Your BBB® has the following tips to keep in mind when you are purchasing a car.

  1. Plan ahead. Do research on the make and model of vehicle you are interested in and research for any common problems being reported by other owners of that type of vehicle. If you know someone that owns one, talk to them about their likes and dislikes and see whether they would make the same purchase now.
  2. Review your rights. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General offers a list of rights for consumers when purchasing a new or used car. Review them carefully to avoid buying a less than ideal vehicle.  You can find those rights here.
  3. Know your budget. You should know how much you can afford and avoid purchasing a vehicle outside your budget. Keep in mind expenses like insurance, licensing and maintenance costs as well as those expenses can increase your cost over time.
  4. Pick a dealer you can trust and read all documentation carefully. You can check out a dealer’s business review by going to sure all promises made by the salesperson and that all terms of the deal are contain in the paperwork you are going to sign.
  5. Understand your financing. If you aren’t buying the car with cash, you need to understand the exact price of the car, the down payment, the amount being financed, how long you have to repay it, and the total finance charges.  If you qualify for special rates, understand what happens to the balance if you don’t get the vehicle paid off before the special rate expires.
  6. If possible, have an independent professional mechanic inspect the vehicle before you purchase it so you can be alerted to any potential problems before you own it. This is especially important when purchasing a used vehicle.  If you can’t get the vehicle to a professional mechanic, pay attention to things like the upholstery and carpet, service stickers like the oil change sticker, dashboard repair or replacement, different colors of paint and door and/or hinge replacement.  These could be signs of odometer or salvage fraud. 
  7. Be prepared to walk away if you aren’t comfortable with the deal being offered.

For more information you can trust, visit

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Amanda is the Director of Bureau Affairs and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.