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Publish Date - August 03, 2021

Author: Jordan S. Levine

Categories:   Tips & Insights For Car Buying    Vehicle & Buying Research   

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Used Car

Whether you are ordering a brand new Tesla online or hunting for a good deal on a used vehicle, buying a car is one of the most expensive decisions that many people will make.

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Whether you are ordering a brand new Tesla online or hunting for a good deal on a used vehicle, buying a car is one of the most expensive decisions that many people will make.

For most of us, there are no do-overs. Therefore, it is important to do your research and understand what you are getting into on the front end because you likely will not be able to change your mind later.

In addition to online reviews and manufacturer information, checking for recalls is an important part of doing your homework before buying a car. This research is particularly important for used car buyers.

Has the Car Been Recalled?

Major auto manufacturers recall millions of vehicles each year, citing a wide variety of defects that range from relatively minor malfunctions to serious problems that can cause cars to stall, break down or even burst into flames at any time.

These defects increase the risk of a car accident, both for drivers and passengers in the vehicle as well as motorcycle riders, bicyclists, pedestrians and others on the road. When crashes happen, they often come with serious and even catastrophic injuries.

Although carmakers are required to fix recalled cars at no cost to the owner, they often do not alert car owners that vehicles have been recalled until long after the vehicle leaves a dealership lot. For used car buyers, it is important to know that dealers can generally sell recalled cars that have not been repaired without alerting the buyer ahead of time.

At least 40% of used cars being offered for sale are covered by at least one open recall that has not been addressed, according to the non-profit organization Consumers’ Checkbook and the Consumer Federation of America. Efforts to pass a federal law that would force used car dealers to complete open recalls before they can sell a vehicle have so far stalled in Congress.

Do not buy a car without checking first to see if it has been recalled. You can search the NHTSA website for recalls by vehicle identification number, as well as by the make, model and year. The VIN is 17 characters, listed on the left side of the car’s windshield and on the registration card.

For more information on car buying, including tips for first-time buyers, check out myAutoloan’s car buying guide. You can also explore options for financing a purchase or refinancing a loan.

Car Accidents Caused by Defective Vehicles

When a person is injured in a car accident caused by a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, they generally have the right to seek compensation from the car’s manufacturer.

That usually includes money for medical bills, property damage, missed wages during physical recuperation and any decrease in long-term earning capacity. Additionally, in the tragic case that a person dies in a car accident, his or her loved ones can seek similar compensation for wrongful death.