Guide: Tips to help you buy a used car

New York City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection has expert tips to help you with the process of buying a used car.

Sandrina Rodrigues

May 30, 2023, 8:19 AM

Updated 358 days ago

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Guide: Tips to help you buy a used car
Like most things, the price of buying a car is increasing. In March 2022, a new car cost on average $45,927, according to data released by Kelley Blue Book.
That price might be unaffordable for the average consumer, so some are turning to used or pre-owned cars.
New York City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection has expert tips to help you with the process of buying a used car. Below are some:

BUDGET

Look at your budget and decide how much you can afford up-front and over time. Don't forget about insurance, parking, gas, tolls, and repairs. 

CREDIT REPORT

Check your credit report at annualcreditreport.com and correct any errors.

LOANS

Get preapproved for a loan. Knowing the rates will help you comparison shop across financial institutions. Using your own bank or credit union gives added protection if something goes wrong.

CAR VALUE

Research the car's value. Check the National Automobile Dealers Association's (NADA) Guides, Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book to find out the average price of the car you plan to buy and trade in.

BAIT AND SWITCH

Beware of "bait and switch" advertising. Ads that promise savings, rates that are too good to be true, or cars that aren’t actually available when you get there are illegal. If you feel pressured, walk away.

EXAMINE THE CAR CAREFULLY

Get a vehicle history report at vehiclehistory.gov, take a test drive, and have an independent mechanic check the car. If the dealer won’t let you, walk away. Be sure to check the condition of the engine, tire wear and any sign of an accident. Compare the odometer reading to the bill of sale.

KNOW ABOUT LEMON LAWS

The tri-state has lemon laws to protect consumers. Check the links below to learn more information:

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM RECALLED CARS

Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website to check if the car you own or plan to buy has been recalled or has any safety complaints. 


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