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GuideUsed Cars

Always Get a Vehicle History Report

Before purchasing a used car, you should always get a vehicle history report as your first line of defense.

These reports will show you if the vehicle has ever been in an accident, reported stolen, been flooded, or totalled.

There are two companies that provide these reports: CarFax and AutoCheck.

Nowadays, most dealers already provide a free vehicle history report on all of their used cars, but if you're shopping private party , you may have to pay for the report yourself.

The cost for a CarFax report is $34.99. AutoCheck sells their reports for $29.99.

Both services obtain information from thousands of public and private data sources including state title and registratrion records, auto auctions, rental car agencies and police departments.

Most dealers prefer to use AutoCheck when purchasing their vehicles at auction.

Keep in mind these history reports are not fool-proof. If an accident was never reported, they will not know about it - so don't assume the car is good to purchase just because it comes back with a clean history report.

The reports are meant to be used only as the first step in your investigation process. Always get a used car thoroughly inspected by a trusted mechanic before purchasing.

3 Steps Every Car Buyer Needs to Take to Save Maximum Money

The key to getting the best deal is to gather price or lease bids from as many local dealers as possible. Then shop that best price around until no one can beat it. Here are the steps:

Step 1 Get Prices From My Trusted Network

Select the vehicle you're interested in to see if there are local dealers in my network who will provide you with their best upfront price. You will get direct access to an internet sales manager who you can further negotiate with online (no need to visit dealership).
Select Vehicle to Get Local Pricing

Step 2 Get Prices From TrueCar / CarsDirect

TrueCar, and CarsDirect are my top 2 online price quote recommendations. These services show you pre-negotiated prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually pretty decent. But remember, you can still negotiate further.

Step 3 Complete my Checklist

Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

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About The Author

Gregg Fidan Gregg Fidan is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.
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