While some cars may look showroom clean on the outside, you never know where they've been, which is why the second key to buying a used car is to get a vehicle history report.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
Lemon laws do not apply to used car sales in Mississippi, so if you're looking for reliable transportation, follow these five keys to make sure your pre-owned car is worth the cash.
It's the busiest time of the year on used car lots as people use their tax refunds to pick up some new used wheels. Experts say the first key to buying a pre-owned car is to only buy from reputable dealers, and check out their rating first.
"There are all different terms and conditions that come in and there are a lot of what you call 'pop up lots' around in the area. What you want to do is definitely check on who you're buying a car from," recommends President John O'Hara of the Better Business Bureau in Jackson.
The Better Business Bureau website grades used car dealers across the state, including any complaints made against the business and if those complaints are resolved.
While some cars may look showroom clean on the outside, you never know where they've been, which is why the second key to buying a used car is to get a vehicle history report. Most dealers will provide vehicle history reports free of charge. Several companies offer them online for around $50.
"It's gonna tell you if [the car] was ever in an accident, if it ever had any major damage done to it, engine, transmission. It will also show how many owners," explains O'Hara.
Key number three may seem obvious, but never miss out on taking the car for a test drive straight to your mechanic. Car experts can often tell if there will be car trouble down the road.
"They get to put the diagnostics on it, see if there are any major issues," suggests O'Hara. "They may see something or be able to test something you or I or an untrained person wouldn't be able to find."
Because "lemon laws" don't apply to used car sales in Mississippi, key number four suggests it's always smart to read your contract thoroughly, to know if the dealer will be responsible for any repairs.
"[There's] a 50-50 type of warranty where the dealer pays 50 percent of the repair if there's something wrong, or 90 days, or so and the consumer pays 50 percent," reveals O'Hara.
And key number five is to get everything in writing and make sure you're comfortable with the financing and warranty.
"The written contract is what's going to hold up for you," confirms O'Hara.
The Better Business Bureau says most used car sales are "as is," freeing the dealer from any responsibility once you drive off the lot. They say if you follow these five steps, you will have fewer surprises as you hit the open road.
"It's an investment; it's probably the second biggest item you'll pay for other than housing," so getting it right the first time will save you from a major headache, and an empty wallet, says O'Hara.
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