Can You Give Me Some Tips On Buying A Used Car?

  1. Investigate and research the kind of car you are considering for purchase. Obtain the NADA Blue Book Value (choose "consumer" and then "used car values") and the Consumer Reports repair frequency record. Check the title to see if it is a "salvage" title, which lowers the Blue Book value by one-third to one-half. Contact your insurance agent for the estimated cost of insurance and ask the County Clerk for sales tax, licensing, and registration fees. Also compare the value of any trade-in you may have.

  2. Decide whether to buy from a dealer or private owner. You can check on a dealer´s reputation through the Better Business Bureau.

  3. In either instance, be certain to have the car checked out by a qualified and trustworthy mechanic of your choice BEFORE you buy it or put down a deposit. This may cost $50 to $100, but it can save you from a bad deal and hundreds or thousands of dollars in car repairs. Review the car´s repair and maintenance records. Look for signs that the auto has been involved in an accident.

  4. Be wary of high-pressure sales techniques. A deposit to hold the car is usually nonrefundable. Once you sign a contract for purchase, it is binding on you and cannot be canceled. Keep a copy of the contract, and make certain it fully and completely expresses all of the terms of your agreement. Oral representations and negotiations not included in the written contract are not binding. If you have questions, Student Legal Services will review any proposed contract before you sign.

  5. Shop around for financing. If you cannot afford to pay cash for your car, the NADA Blue Book will give you an estimated loan value so you can tell how much of the purchase price you will be able to borrow. Look for the lowest interest rate on a car loan. Consider your hometown bank or credit union or having your parents co-sign the loan. The highest interest rate and the worst financing deal are usually offered through the car dealer or a loan company associated with the car dealer.

  6. Obtain insurance before you buy, as the risk of loss passes to you on receipt of the title. Make sure you have a notarized title signed by all persons named in the title. Check to see that all liens are released before handing over the money. Also, obtain a bill of sale that includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), date, purchase price, owner´s signature, and an odometer statement or reading. For a sample bill of sale visit the Nebraska DMV website:

  7. If you purchase your vehicle from a dealer, you have 30 days in which to apply for title and license of the vehicle. Keep your bill of sale with you for proof of ownership during this period. You must license the auto in the county where it is principally stored and kept, except a student may license a vehicle in the county of his or her residence. You will need the title, bill of sale, odometer reading, and proof of insurance to register and license the vehicle.