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1.  Before you visit a used car dealership, if you are wise, you will educate yourself as much as possible about the car you are looking for, financing, and how to present yourself at the dealership. It really is no mystery that most people are skeptical, rightly or wrongly, about salesmen at these dealerships. When going to a used car dealership, try your best to appear confident and knowledgeable, and be prepared to leave if things are not to your liking. There are plenty of places to buy a used car, and if one rubs you the wrong way, just go to another.  

2.  Check out the book value of used cars
If you know what kind of used car you want, make sure that you check out what the book value of the car is. There is no reason to pay thousands more than the book price for a used car simply because you are unaware of the real value. Used car dealerships are there to make money, which is perfectly all right, but there is no reason why you should pay more than is necessary, either. Before you actually visit any of the used car lots, however, you should probably do a search on the internet to help narrow your search down. While you can find a used car literally anywhere in the world on the web, it is probably advisable to find one close enough so that you can actually inspect the car for yourself.

You should know what your credit rating is before you go to a dealership. If you credit rating is good, you will be able to negotiate a better loan deal. It is advisable to have your loan set up with a bank or finance company before you enter a used car dealership. Many of these dealerships will help you to find a loan, but often at a higher interest rate. While you should visit several used car dealerships before committing yourself to any one vehicle, you should not allow each one to run a credit check on you. As it turns out, every time a credit check is done, your credit rating goes down.

3.  Have it inspected by mechanic 
Regardless of what the dealership says about the condition of the used car, it is in your own best interest to have it checked by an independent mechanic. If there is anything seriously wrong with the car, if it has previously been in an accident, for instance, it is better to know this ahead of time. You should also take the car on a fairly long test drive before buying it, even if they are certified used cars bought at the local dealership. In order to see how the engine is functioning, it needs to warm up; a spin around the block will tell you nothing. Make sure you test the brakes, too, to make sure they respond as they should.

Used car dealerships will often try to add various fees onto the price of the car. Most of these are unnecessary and will only cost you more. One thing to watch out for is 'dealer prep fees'. These can run into hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars. Make sure you negotiate these before finalizing the deal.

4.  Check before you sign
And, be sure you understand exactly what you are signing before you put your name on that dotted line. People often neglect to read the contract thoroughly before signing, and can find unpleasant surprises tucked somewhere in the fine print. Do not depend on any verbal promises about a warranty or certification - if you do not see it in print, it probably will not exist.


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