Used Car Buying Guide

Buy Used Car very simple if you could just look at a car’s odometer and deduct the mileage from 100,000 to determine how much life a car has left. Such is not the case, however. Abuse, neglect and accidents can prematurely age a car to the point where the cost of necessary repairs exceeds the car’s value. The knowledgeable buyer will notice the telltale signs that indicate a car’s true condition. This isn’t always easy. Sellers can be very shrewd and many have developed tricks to conceal a car’s shortcomings.

How to Examine a Used Car Before Buying

A used car must be examined carefully. Here are some guidelines:

Outside of Car

Look at the vehicle during the daytime as darkness may hide problems. Do not look at vehicles in the rain, which hides nicks and scratches, as well as making thin, worn paint look slick. Be sure to concentrate on big defects and not minor repairs that can be made easily and inexpensively.

  • Take a general look around the outside of the car. A very common practice is to have the car detailed to increase its appeal. Usually this includes a thorough cleaning inside and out, waxing and the repair of minor cosmetic items that can hide abuse or “wear and tear”.
  • Examine both sides of the car from a distance (both front and back). Look for ripples, waves, poorly fitted panels and mismatched colors, all of which may indicate that bodywork may have been done. Look for dents or rust around the bottom of the doors and fenders. A bubble along molding or chrome indicates rust underneath. Also look under the vehicle for rust as well. If the rust has gone through the metal, you could be looking at major repairs.
  • Check for welding spots on the frame that may indicate a serious accident or repairs. Open and close the doors, hood, trunk or hatchback. Be sure they fit and are easy to close without slamming, sagging or sticking.
  • Conditions noted previously may indicate that the car was wrecked, poorly kept or has been driven excessive miles. Stand back approximately 10 to 15 feet from the car and see if the car is level. If one corner seems lower than the others, it suggests a broken spring or other chassis or suspension problem.
  • Check the shocks by pushing down on each corner of the car and letting go. Your car should bounce upward only once and then settle back to its original position. If the car bounces several times, new shocks may be needed.
  • Check the tires. They should be in good shape without sidewall cracks. Uneven tire wear may indicate improper wheel alignment, tired shocks or worn front-end components. In addition, check the inside of the tires for brake fluid leakage (indicating leaking wheel cylinders).
  • Look under the car for oil spots, or leaks from the transmission, power steering or shock absorbers. Open the hood and check belts and hoses for cracks or wear. Remove the radiator cap. The coolant should be a clean, greenish (or blue or yellow, depending on brand of coolant used) color. Brown sludge inside the radiator neck may indicate poor maintenance.
  • Pull out the oil dipstick. If the oil is gummy or grayish, the engine might have serious problems. If there is a black buildup near the top of the dipstick, smell it. A burnt smell indicates that the engine or transmission has been run hot. The automatic transmission fluid should be clear and reddish in color, not brown or black. A burnt smell or low fluid level indicates neglect.
  • Be sure and check the fluid level in the master cylinder as well. If the fluid level is low, check for leaks and have brake pads checked. Look inside the trunk. Make sure there is an inflated spare tire, a jack and a lug wrench.

Inside of Car

The interior can give you a good idea of the overall condition and how well the entire car has been maintained.

  • Check the mileage to be sure the car has not been used too much for the price being asked. Today’s cars average approximately 12,000 miles per year. In addition, compare the service stickers on the doorjamb or under the hood to see if the recorded mileage is consistent with the odometer reading. It is possible to obtain a history of service as well, depending on where the vehicle was serviced.
  • Check the condition of the seats, belts and carpeting. Lap belts and shoulder harnesses should be in good shape with no rips, tears or frayed webbing. The upholstery should be clean with no large rips or cracks.
  • Check the windows to see if they open and close easily. Manual windows should crank smoothly. Power windows should not hesitate. All glass should be free from serious cracks or scratches.
  • Look at the brake, accelerator and clutch. These pedals should work smoothly without strange noises or binding. Check all exterior lights and flashers on the car to ensure they are operating properly.
  • Start the engine and check the warning lights and gauges as well as all the accessories to make sure they work. No matter what the temperature is outside, be sure to check both the heater and the air conditioner.
  • Check the glove box for the owner’s manual. It contains maintenance information and important data on engine tuning, fluid capacities and replacement parts.

Drive Test

Start the engine and press down on the brake. The brake pedal should go down only an inch or two and should feel firm and solid, not spongy. Press down on the brakes for about a minute. If the pedal sinks slowly, there may be a leak in the master cylinder. As the engine warms up, listen for any noises such as knocks, ticking and rattles, which could indicate engine problems. Next, put the car in neutral and rev the engine. Look in the rear view mirror to see if there is any smoke coming out of the exhaust. If there is a lot of white or bluish smoke, the engine may need an overhaul.

  • At idle, the engine should be smooth and quiet. Punch the gas pedal to see if the engine responds without hesitation and then returns to normal idle. When first starting out, drive slowly to get the feel of the car. The automatic transmission should shift smoothly without jerking, slipping or hesitating. A manual transmission should shift smoothly between gears without grinding. The clutch should engage and disengage smoothly without grabbing or chattering and don’t forget to make sure the reverse works. Drive on a flat, smooth road and lift your hands slightly from the wheel. The car should track straight and be stable without vibration. If the car pulls in either direction or “shimmies”, a front end alignment or other front-end repairs may be necessary.
  • To test the brakes, accelerate to 30 to 40 miles per hour. Make sure there are no cars behind you, then step hard on the brake pedal. If possible, buy a car equipped with ABS Antilock Brake System. ABS simply keeps your brakes from locking up and allows you to keep your car from swerving and allows you to keep steering control on wet and slippery roads or during a panic stop.
  • The brakes should grab evenly and the car should slow down in a straight line. If the car pulls to the left or right, it indicates the needs for brake adjustment or a system re-build. A grinding noise indicates badly worn pads or linings. Drive at 35 miles per hour and listen for any unusual noises. If you hear a whining sound from the rear-end, it may need replacing.
  • Next, accelerate to 45 miles per hour. If the front end shakes or vibrates, the tires probably need balancing. Drive quickly over a rough road and listen for any loud squeaks or rattles. If the car bounces or bangs over small bumps, the shock absorbers may be worn and need replacing. After you have driven the car for a while, check the temperature gauge to see if it shows a high reading or if the temperature warning light (be sure this works!) comes on. These are signs of trouble with the cooling system and they can be very expensive.
  • To test engine response, accelerate hard on an empty road. The car should respond immediately. Back off and hit the gas again. There should be no hesitation or smoke from the car. The engine should accelerate smoothly with no strange noises. You may want to find a steep hill to check the engine’s power. If there is a significant loss in power while climbing, the car may need an overhaul or a tune-up. While you’re on the hill, test out the hand brake to make sure that it holds the car. When you are through with the test drive, it’s a good idea to turn off the car for a minute or two.
  • Then restart the engine to see how well it starts when hot. Check again for leaks under the hood and beneath the car. Some leaks may only appear after driving. It’s also a good idea to check the tailpipe. An engine that is burning oil will leave a black, sooty oil deposit. A white, powdery residue usually means good fuel combustion.

Mechanic’s Inspection

The first place you should test drive a car is to your trusty mechanics shop. With a bit of notice your mechanic will be able to go over the car with you. He’ll take a look at your car with a keen and unprejudiced eye.

  • Take with you whatever service records are available on the car, these will help your mechanic understand the vehicles past. Your mechanic will check the hoses and belts and condition of the oil. These are easy fixes if they need changing or replacing. Your mechanic will check the radiator fluid for coolant level and to make sure the fluid is going to protect in severe cold conditions. He’ll see how much oil, if any is present on the engine. Perhaps the car has been burning oil. He’ll check the transmission fluid.
  • Another thing he’ll check is the lights, inside on the dash and outside to make sure they work. He’ll check shocks, brakes, tires and alignment.
  • He’ll take a look at the body. Is there any rust underneath on the frame? Does all the paint match, or has the car been repainted? Is everything in alignment? Do the doors open and shut properly?
  • Let your mechanic take the car out for a test drive. He may be able to pick up subtle things, perhaps a shutter or hesitation or hear a sound that you may not. His is the best advice you’re going to get on the mechanical condition of a used car.

How to Deal with Used Cars For Sale By Owner

The used cars and trucks for sale by owner section on any classifieds ad is a great place to start for auto owners who are ready to part ways with a used car, and for buyers who are trying to save on the price of a vehicle. Not only will owners sell used for a much lower price than a newer model, and current year of the vehicle they own, buyers are understanding of the fact that the vehicle they are buying, may have certain defects.

It is also very simple to posting your used cars for sale by owner on You simply have to post the vehicle for sale by brief description of the car you are trying to sell. it is not going to cost you anything like you would have to pay on other sites such as motors.

Cars and Trucks For Sale By Owner

Sell your car for free at



When you are trying to sell a car, you have to highlight the features that would draw in a buyer. If it is a vintage car, you want to highlight the year, or the fact that the vehicle is no longer in production. Stating that the original paint work and all original parts are intact, would also be a good idea with a vintage vehicle. On the other hand, if it is a regular sedan, or car that someone would be driving on a daily basis, you don’t want to state these facts. You would highlight the fact that the car was maintained regularly. (has new tires and brakes, and other similar facts).

When you are listing your used car, you have to showcase everything positive about it. Also, if it is certified by a manufacturer, this is also a great selling point to include. You want to give buyers as much information as possible, and you want to inform them of everything that is a positive with the car you are listing.


You want to be upfront with buyers, a good way for open communication is to sell only to local buyers. On Craigslist cars, you can post that the car is available to local buyers. You shouldn’t post your address on the original post, but it is a good idea to post your phone number or email, so people know how to contact you, so they can schedule a showing, and see the car. At this time they can inquire as to whether the car has ever been involved in an accident or any other questions.


In some cases, this is going to make or break the deal. It is always a good idea to at least have an open mind when it comes to the price. If you are firm stuck at receiving $12,000 or any other asking price, but the car is not in top notch condition. Then this will not bode well for you when trying to sell used cars for sale by owner online. It is a good idea to state in the post that you are open to negotiations, as long as the buyer is reasonable, and willing to offer you a price that is close to the asking price, when you are listing your used car for sale.

Cars and Trucks For Sale

Some of cheap car and trucks for sale found on


If the dealer offering you a low price for a trade in, sometimes it is not worth accepting. If the used car is simply sitting in the garage, collecting dust, why not make some money off of it?

You have the potential to make more than any dealer would be willing to offer you for it as a trade in. If it is no longer in use, simply collecting dust and taking up space in the garage, why not try to sell it? The process of posting a classified ad for used cars and trucks for sale by owner is quick, easy, and one of the most efficient ways to sell a used car quickly, for a good deal.


Craigslist Houston Cars Comparison

One thing that many people in Houston are doing is using the Craigslist Houston Cars website in order to purchase a used auto.  Did you know that it’s possible to find a car under $3000 in Houston?  Did you know that using Craigslist can possibly save you at least $1000 on your next car purchase?  Let’s compare prices of the leading car dealers prices within Houston to the used cars listed by private owners on Craigslist.

I randomly choose a few car dealerships that were listed on Google places within the Houston metro area.  I will choose a used car that is listed on their website and see if I can find a cheaper car on Craigslist Houston cars.

Best Used Cars on Craigslist Houston

Lone Star Chevrolet

The first listing was a 2007 Audi A3 2.0T Sportback that is listed for $14,900.  This car is a hatchback with 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. It has over 71,000 miles and is a manual transmission. Let’s see if there is anything cheaper on Craigslist.

Audi A3 5 doors

I did find an exact same model for $1000 less from a different dealership. However, this car also had 15,000 more miles than the car listed on Lone Star Chevrolet.

Baker Nissan South

I found a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee for $16,890. It’s an automatic with over 78,000 miles. I found the same car on Craigslist for $13,498 with the same amount of miles on it. The price difference? $3,392 in savings!

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Knapp Chevrolet

Looking at their website, I see a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze that is listed for $16,977.  The car has 18,000+ miles and is a forward wheel drive vehicle. I found the same vehicle on Craigslist for $12,900 and with only 11,000 miles. The savings is $4,077! The icing on the cake is the car on Craigslist has 7,000 less miles than the dealership’s car.

Russell & Smith Honda

I choose was the 2007 Honda Accord 3.0 EX. The car was listed for $14,9xx and has 47,000+ miles on it. Let’s see if we can find anything cheaper on Craigslist Houston Texas. I found a similar car for $10,000, but the car had double the miles (87,000) compared to the one at this site.  In this case, the dealership wins.

2007 Honda Accord

Durrett Motor Company

A 2003 Honda Civic Coupe EX was listed for $8,700 with 118,500 miles.  The car appears to be in good condition. I’m sure I can find a better equivalent. I found vehicle for $8995; however the car has lower mileage and only has 103,000 miles on it.

Honda Civic Coupe

Craigslist Houston Cars Comparison

I guess Craigslist Houston TX is kind of hit or miss for finding used cars.  In one hand, one can find substantial savings on certain vehicles; however, it appears that in this case, the majority of the used cars at the dealerships were cheaper than the cars that I found on Craigslist.


Affordable used cars in Fairbanks Alaska

Fairbanks is an attractive town in Alaska, America, which is famous for its charming geographical situation and scenic views around it. If you live in this wonderful city and looking to buy a car in affordable rates, then affordable used cars will be the best option for you. Now you may think that why used cars? So, the first reason of purchasing used car is good saving of money plus you will be aware of the whole condition of the car. By the way, there are few important aspects you have to check before buying affordable cars in Fairbanks, Alaska. It will help you in making purchase of an excellent car for your drive.

Do good research on chosen used car:

If you do not want to fall in a deal of loss, then you should do enough research about the chosen car. For sure you will quickly find a good used car retailer in Fairbanks, but he will explain you only good things about cars. If you want to get the perfect information on car’s condition and its real value, then start from car’s old partner. First know that why car’s first owner has sold this car and what was the problems in it. If you will find everything good about that car, then you can purchase it.

Seek expert’s advice on car’s present condition:

Probably you would not like to drive a car, which will come with so many problems that’s why you need an expert’s help. You can take help of a local car mechanic to check that car’s present condition in good or not. A car mechanic will quickly tell you about the problems in the car and then you can pay the right price according to car’s actual value.

Choose a reputable distributor:

Off course, you should not take chances with a new or unreliable distributor, who can provide you any used car in illegal way. You should make a real search for affordable used car agency and then take your steps towards it. Once you will come in contact with a reliable distributor, he will always lead you for the purchase of the best car. If the car shows problem in the future, then you can contact the distributor about the problem in your purchased car. For sure he will help you in fixing that problem.

Buying a good condition’s used car in Fairbanks is not impossible, but you should know the best place. Well, if you are not finding any land based distributor reliable there, then you should go online. There are many affordable used cars agencies, which work to supply used cars in Fairbanks. You can check the car models and their conditions right from your home. If you have liked any car, then you can make your decision to buy it. For sure, you will find the best car in affordable rates. Do not forget to do legal documentation on the purchase of used cars, and carefully check the above mentioned things about cars and then buy it.



How To Find The Best Used SUV Under 15000

If you are looking for a vehicle, or any other product for that matter, it is a bad idea to go with other people’s definitions of ‘the best. If you go with other people’s definitions, primarily sales people, you might end up buying stuff you will come to hate or at least be annoyed by in the future. That’s how buying based on someone else’s recommendations work. You have to buy stuff based on what makes sense to you. This is as true as for purchases of clothes as it is for buying cars and trucks. Your needs must come first. You’d be surprised at the benefits you’d get if you focus on a tight definition of the best purchase first before you start hitting online resources or local classifieds for an SUV.

Start by defining what is the best used suv under 15000 for your situation

There is no cookie-cutter approach for the best automotive option. Everyone is different. Everyone looks at the world from different perspectives. You have to keep this in mind. Just because it seems like everyone you know is rolling in the same make or model SUV doesn’t mean that you should automatically get one. Get a vehicle that makes sense based on your personality, your needs, your budget, your situation, and your circumstances. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for SUV hunting. If you go with other people’s recommendations blindly, chances are high you’ll be unhappy with your choice. Focus on what you need, when you need it, your lifestyle, your personality, and other factors. In short, focus on what makes sense for you.

Do online price comparisons

Once you have a clear idea as to the type of SUV and make and model you should look for, hit many online resources and do price comparisons. The more sources you check, the higher the chance that you’ll get the right price. Of course, you shouldn’t just settle for a handful of resources. You need to choose among as many different resources as possible. The more choice you have, the higher the chance you’ll actually make the right choice.

Check local classifieds

Besides online price comparisons among many different automotive sites, check your local classifieds, both online and offline, to see if there are many vehicles people want to sell. You’d be surprised at the gems you can turn up. The great thing about shopping locally is that you can get more opportunities to fully scoping out the SUV options in your area.





How To Find The Best Used SUV

If you are looking for the most optimal second-hard or previously-owned SUV (Sport utility vehicle) in your area, you need to sit down and focus on what you’re looking for. Too many people focus on make and model and year and end up regretting their decision. You need to step back first and truly analyze why you think something is ‘the best’ and why other options are not so great. This is a good opportunity to get away from what other people say the ‘best’ option is. Let’s face it-there’s a lot of hype and buzz out there. It is too easy to get caught up in all the hype and end up with a vehicle you are less than happy with either right after you buy it or several years from now. If you want to be sure that you will end up researching, scoping out, and negotiating for the most optimal vehicle for your particular situation, you need to wrap your mind around the idea of defining what ‘the best used SUV’ means. If you think this is common sense or too obvious, you might be setting yourself up to making the wrong decision. Instead, be open minded and challenge your previous definitions. This way, you can increase your chances of actually making the right choice. Make no mistakes about it-your choice is very important because you might end up spending thousands of dollars on the wrong vehicle. Make sure you give your choice the right amount of time and importance so you can increase your chances of making the right choice.

What is the best used SUV

Defining The Best Used SUV

There is a reason why the number one users of the phrase ‘the best’ tend to be sales people or people trying to sell you something. Why? ‘The best’ is a weasel phrase. At a very real level, it means what you want it to mean. This is why it is the favorite phrase of sales professionals. However, if you want to truly make the ‘best’ decision, you need to step away from their definitions and focus more on what make sense to you. There is really no ‘cookiecutter’ or one-size-fits-all to any type of product choice. Regardless of how popular an option is, sheer popularity or sales volume alone doesn’t mean that the product is the right choice for you. Keep this in mind. Come up with your own personal definition of what kind of SUV makes the best sense in your particular situation and makes the best sense at both this point in time and way into the future. By grounding your definitions of what is most optimal or best used SUV choice around your particular needs, requirements, personality, and future plans, you dramatically increase the chances that whatever make and SUV model you go with will be the one you will be happy with for a long time in the future.



Quality Craigslist Used Cars Under 1000 Dollars

Craigslist is one of the best places online you can use to find all sorts of stuff. Looking for local stuff? Check. Looking for low-priced items? Check. Looking for items you can check out easily by driving across town or hopping on the subway to the other end of town. Check. Make no mistake about it, when it comes to great local deals Craigslist delivers. This amazing online classifieds still delivers the goods even when it comes to finding quality used cars under 1000 dollars. This might seem impossible if you were using other online classifieds or even auction sites but this is Craigslist we’re talking about after all. How can Craigslist deliver? Simple. Craigslist has developed a reputation as an online garage sale. People advertise there when they want to get rid of stuff. This has led to lots of people advertising cars for less than 1000 bucks. They figured they’d rather post the car on Craigslist than driving it to Goodwill to donate it or selling it at a junk shop. The problem with Craigslist is not inventory-there are vehicles on offer for less than 1000 dollars. The issue is finding a car you’d actually want to drive. This is where some serious Craigslist used car hunting tips come in. Read below.

How to use Craigslist to find quality cars under 1000 dollars

Look for maintenance clues

The big trick with Craigslist is to filter all the used car listings in your price range with an eye towards clues that indicate quality or condition. Look for text about usage or maintenance records in the description. Don’t waste your time going to inspect the car. If you do this, you’ll end up spending tons of time looking at junk cars. Make it easy for yourself and filter your leads by looking at the ads closely. Look to see if the car is maintained properly or has only been owned by one person.

Take a mechanic when you inspect

While 1000 bucks is not too much money, breaking down on the road and spending money to repair your car sets you back both in terms of money and time. This is why you need to invest in the time of an expert mechanic accompanying you to check out cheap cars you find via Craigslist. This one little detail can save you so much grief later on. Using craigslist used cars under 1000 are not only possible but actually great buys-if you follow the tips above.