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Used-car shopping? Do your homework first

Searching for a reliable, used car can drain your tank. Doing your homework will give you the knowledge and know how when car shopping. Your BBB offers tips for finding a used car that won’t break the bank.

In 2012, your BBB recorded more than 7,200 inquiries and almost 100 complaints locally about used car dealers. However, more than 2.1 million inquiries and about 7,200 complaints were filed nationally against used car dealers with your BBB in 2012.

Your BBB offers these tips when shopping for a used car:

• Decide the maximum amount you can spend or the maximum monthly payment if financing the car. When calculating the cost include the price of the tax, title, registration and insurance.

• Do your homework. The Internet is a great place to start your search, such as Kelly Blue Book ( or Edmund’s ( This will give you a ballpark figure of what the car is worth.

• Ask a trustworthy mechanic to examine the car before you purchase it.

• Take the car for a test drive. Put the car through normal driving conditions, such as stop-and-go traffic and highway driving. If you can’t test drive the car, walk away.

• Negotiate the price. A lower price means a lower monthly payment if buying from an auto dealer.

• Bring a friend or relative if you feel you may be pressured into buying a car.

• Ask about the car’s history. Get the car’s maintenance records from the seller or auto dealer.

• Get warranty information. Look for the buyer’s guide disclosing the car is being sold “as is” or with a warranty. Federal law requires auto dealers to post this on every car window.

• Get everything in writing. Look over your contract before signing. Don’t be pressured into signing if you’re not sure about something.

Remember, when buying a used car from an individual private sale, the car is sold “as is” and any manufacturer warranties and service contracts aren’t transferrable.

To help with your car search, your BBB can provide lists of BBB Accredited used auto dealers and business reviews on ones you’re considering. Contact your BBB by visiting or calling (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

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