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Written By Charlotte Miller

A used car can be an excellent and cost-effective way to get around town. With gas prices skyrocketing, more and more people are starting to look towards used cars as an affordable alternative to driving new vehicles every few years. However, with all the different models and brands of cars on the market today, it can be not easy to find the right one at the right price. Before you start your search, consider these tips so you can avoid becoming a victim of car-buying scams in Sacramento, CA.

1) Get a Mechanic’s Opinion

One of the most important things you can do when buying a used car is to have it inspected by a mechanic who knows what to look for. The last thing you want is to buy a lemon that breaks down halfway home and leaves you stranded. In addition, any mechanic will tell if any significant repair work has been performed on the vehicle, which could indicate previous damage or tampering.

2) Research the Specific Year, Make, and Model

Because used cars are driven and purchased by different drivers, it’s important to know what to look for in a specific year, make, and model. If you choose a reliable car dealership, they will also tell you if any known issues with a particular vehicle exist that may alter its reliability. They can also tell you whether repairs were made to the vehicle in question. For reliable cars, Vin’s Auto imports high quality cars for your daily car needs. 

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3) Run a Vehicle History Report

Before buying a used car, it’s a good idea to run a vehicle history report. This will give you valuable information about previous accidents, liens, and other crucial details that could help you avoid buying an unsafe or unreliable car.

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4) Inspect the Car Yourself

One of your first steps should be to check out potential cars in person. If you’re buying from a private seller, make sure you’re aware of the California Lemon Law and that any problems with a car are resolved before you agree to buy it. Be wary of a private seller who tries to pressure you into buying on sight or seems otherwise reluctant to let you take time with an inspection.

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5) Consider Buying from an Independent Dealer

Before looking for a car to buy, consider an independent dealer not affiliated with one of the big three automakers. By working with someone independent, you won’t have to worry about where your car was originally bought from and what scams may have been involved in its previous sale. When you work with an independent dealer, you can also be sure that you get fair prices on your used cars in Sacramento. Plus, they will often provide higher quality used cars than other dealerships.

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6) Go to Dealership during Business Hours

Whether you’re buying a used car in Sacramento or a house, it’s not recommended to show up at your appointment empty-handed. While some deals might sound too good to be true, they are—and are designed to make you feel out of your depth and unable to negotiate. Visit during business hours, know what you want beforehand and, before all else, prepare for an open dialogue. If you start talking about going off-market or spending cash under the table, walk away immediately.