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How To Protect Yourself When Purchasing A Used Car

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There is no question that you can get a lot more car for your money if you shop used, thanks to the magic of depreciation. And who doesn’t love saving money? But the flip side of this is that you’re buying a used car “as-is”, so it’s important to have the car checked out by a mechanic before signing on the dotted line and handing over your hard-earned cash.

But that’s not all. A mechanic can only tell you so much based on what they see. So you also need to run a vehicle history report and make sure that there aren’t any hidden surprises in the car’s past, like a bad accident or flood damage.

Sadly, there are sneaky used car dealerships out there who engage in title washing, where they take a previously salvaged, flooded, or rebuilt car and get a clear title for it. They sell it for full retail, and an unsuspecting buyer gets stuck with potentially expensive repairs down the line.

Don’t believe me? Check out this story from Paul in Colorado, which was shared on VinCheck:

“I thought I found an amazing deal on 4Runner, paying $3,000 under Blue Book until I drove it on I-25 at 75 MPH. It was really unstable at those speeds and I felt lucky for not crashing.”

As it turns out, Paul’s car had been totaled in a major accident in Mississippi, five years prior. HIs 4Runner underwent major repairs and was driven to Colorado where they unknowingly issued a clean title. Unfortunately, Paul’s case isn’t an isolated incident.

This infographic gives you more information on title washing:

Here are some red flags to look for when buying a used car:

And lastly, a word of advice. While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a good deal, it’s always smart to heed the old adage, “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.” So take your time, research the car’s history and look for warning signs.

It’s a little extra work, but you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle, money, and time in the long run.

Sujeet Patel is the founder of Guys Gab, and one of the biggest automotive enthusiast you'll ever meet. He's been fortunate enough to turn his passion for cars into a full-time job. Like they say, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."

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