Both buying and selling a used car can be stressful processes. Why not start with a checklist and make things easier on yourself?
Things to Consider When Shopping for Used Vehicles
- Before agreeing to buy a used car and inking your name to the car title, order a vehicle history report. These reports can be ordered online and in your hands in a matter of minutes. On it you will find the vehicle’s entire history including accidents, number of owners, and even airbag deployments. This information will help you gauge whether the vehicle is being sold at fair value and if you can trust the seller.
- Have a mechanic inspect the vehicle. A mechanic can detect concealed problems with the frame, engine, or body, as well as verify promised options. The mechanic’s report will allow you to decide with confidence and peace of mind.
- Be certain you can afford the car’s insurance coverage, especially if you’re considering a high-value vehicle.
- Apply for temporary plates or tags, if applicable.
- Inquire about smog certification. In California, for example, the seller must provide evidence of smog certification if the vehicle is older than four years old. If you’re uncertain about your region’s emissions policies, check our page on smog and emission requirements.
Things to Consider When Selling a Used Card
- Know your state’s requirements for handling license plates during title transfers. Confirm if the plates need to be removed. Be certain of this; otherwise, if the buyer drives off with the plates still on the vehicle and gets ticketed, you could be held liable.
- Include the words “sold as is” on the bill of sale. If the vehicle breaks down, this will help protect you from the buyer demanding money back.
- Order a vehicle history report. This document builds immediate trust with potential buyers, proving you have nothing to hide, helping quiet the dreaded haggler.
- Be sure you have the title. If not, order a duplicate.
- Be aware of your state’s paperwork requirements. For instance, some states require submitting a Notice of Sale form. Oregon, for example, requires this within 10 days of the sale date.