What Is A Certified Used Car?


Certified cars, also known as “CPO” (certified pre-owned) have become an affordable alternative to new cars. These are vehicles that have been inspected and certified by a manufacturer or another certifying authority. They have an extended warranty, special financing and additional benefits.

These cars are not more than 6 years old and have low-mileage. They passed multiple inspections and have been reconditioned to perform like a new vehicle.


Three Types Of Certified Used Cars

Manufacturer Certified

They are  sold only at authorized dealerships specializing in that particular franchise or brand. These certified pre-owned vehicles have passed multiple inspection and reconditioning process (usually with 100+ inspection points) done by factory trained technicians. It often comes with roadside assistance program and special financing. You’ll be able to have your vehicle serviced at locations nationwide. It will also include an extended warranty backed by the manufacturer.

Dealership Certified

These cars were certified by the dealership that’s selling them. It means that the car was inspected and certified by the dealership’s in-house mechanic. Perks and warranty are dependent to the terms of their certified car program.

Independent program Certified

The certification is done by a particular independent business. Some of them do the inspection and certification in house while some are done at an affiliate’s facility administered by a representative of the independent program. You’ll be able to have your vehicle serviced  by any accredited affiliate of the independent program who certified the vehicle.


Why Buy Certified Used Cars?


Certified used cars are the smart choice. They are less expensive compared to new vehicles  and  you are assured to have peace of mind that you can’t get when you buy a non-certified used vehicle.

Used cars may be cheaper but they have not been through the rigorous inspection of professional mechanics and they do not carry an extended warranty backed by the manufacturer or the third party who certified it.

When you get a certified used car you know that the vehicle was properly maintained giving you an assurance that no undetected problem will surface months later after you have already purchased the car.

When you buy a certified used car there are lots of perks and benefits included that you will not find when you buy from a private party or small used car lots. Some may include roadside assistance, shuttle pick-up and drop-off service, free maintenance or trip interruption protection.

Certified used cars retain their value longer than non-certified vehicles making it easy for you to sell it when you want to upgrade.


Does It Matter Who Certifies The Car?


I have mentioned above that used cars can be certified by the manufacturer, a dealership or an independent program. Most experts agree that manufacturer certified used cars are more reliable.

A manufacturer certified vehicle has passed the factory’s high standard inspection. You are assured that it was administered by trained experts and of course using updated equipment.

The certification process also verifies that the vehicle has not incurred any frame damage during the life of the vehicle. The manufacturer holds an extended warranty that will commence when the original warranty expires and will extend to a specified number of miles or specific amount of time, whichever comes first.

You also have access to multiple service centers nationwide. This is not the case for independent programs. They are limited to a specific location and often have the customer pay for needed repairs up front, then wait for a reimbursement check. There is also a risk that the insurance company is not around to honor the warranty when a claim is made. This risk is much less when the responsible party is a vehicle manufacturer.

With a manufacturer certified used car you are guaranteed to get a car that is in excellent condition. You will also enjoy benefits that are exclusively offered by the manufacturer.


Where Should I Go To Shop?


Every major manufacturer has an official certified used car website, listing their full inventory of certified cars across all their dealerships. There’s FordCertified.com, ToyotaCertified.com, HondaCertified.com, and so on. When you visit their site, you will learn how their certification is done and see the features and benefits of their certified car program.

If you’d like to compare certified cars across different manufacturers, there’s also a website dedicating to listing the certified used car inventory available across all major manufacturers: browse CertifiedCars.com to compare the certified cars for sale in your area.

How To Save On Auto Loans

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Lots of people are intimidated by the thought of buying a car and getting it financed. They find it confusing and a lot of times they are afraid because of the horror stories that they hear around them. Most of those stories are true. Lots of times dealerships can take advantage of you when it comes to financing. A lot of times they use it as an opportunity to make more money. However, you can avoid going that route by doing your homework. Make sure that you have gathered enough information to educate yourself before you go out there and agree on any financing terms.

Give a serious thought on your financing options before you shop. Consider your monthly expenditures and other financial commitments to determine how much you’re able to afford. Keep in mind that you can be approved for a loan before even visiting a dealership. Securing your financing before you visit the dealership empowers you like a cash buyer. It will allow you to hop around dealerships to look for the best deals.

Here are a few tips to help you save money on auto loans. It will help you stay on track to make sure that you will land on a financing that will not go over your allotted budget.


Be aware of your credit score


 Lenders use credit scores to help decide how risky it will be to lend you money or provide you a service. Creditors see more risk from low credit applicants than those with better scores. The result is a higher interest rate or they can turn down your application.

Make sure that you are on top of things. Monitor your credit profile. It consists of your credit report and credit score. Get it free at AnnualCreditReport.com .


Decide where you want to acquire financing



Be careful in choosing where you send your loan application. Find a licensed online lender with a BBB rating of “A”. Many online auto loan web sites are fronts for car dealer lead-generation while other sites are individual lender sites. Go to their “about us” section to find out how they operate.

Auto loan lead generation websites

On lead generation web sites, you apply for a loan and your application information is immediately routed to one or more car dealerships. They carefully check every application to make sure that they are genuine and valid before they send it to dealers. You get dealer financing with these sites.

 Lender websites

On lender websites, you can apply for a loan and may or may not get approved.  Direct auto financing can get you a lower annual percentage rate but it can be very time consuming filling out multiple applications. They  also have  high standards in filtering loan applications so it may be difficult for those who are struggling with their credit scores to be approved.

Online Lending Marketplace

Online lending marketplaces like VinAudit partner myAutoloan.com offer an online alternative to traditional lending. It offers quick and easy application process from the comfort of your own home. They are popular for their high approval rate and loans are processed and funded quickly. You can get multiple offers to choose from so you can maximize the amount of money that you can save.


 Be ready for your trip to the dealership


Remember to research about the dealership that you will visit. Check out their feedback online and make sure that they are licensed. Keep in mind that there are bad dealers out there who intend to make a profit on your financing by marking up interest rates and in some cases, inflating prices of service contracts and other insurance products. If you think the dealer can give you a better deal, then finance through the dealer. Otherwise use the online auto loan that you have been approved for.

Don’t be swayed when a dealer offers to beat your online deal by getting you lower payments while increasing term, sales price or increasing the rate (APR). It may appear to be a good deal but in the end you will be paying a lot more. Focus on the full amount and do not be diverted by low monthly payments.


Negotiate like a cash buyer


With financing in hand, you are in a very strong position to get the best pricing on your new or used car. Have confidence when negotiating, you already have the funding so the price easily be at your command. Work with reputable dealerships and your overall experience will be excellent.

Having an approved financing before hopping over to a dealership is the smart way to go. You will have control to choose the best deal that you can get so you can save money.

Get prepared today: Check your credit score at AnnualCreditReport.com and negotiate your auto loan at myAutoloan.com.

How To Test Drive A Used Car


Taking the car for a test drive before committing to buy it, is very important. This is your opportunity to experience everything that the vehicle has to offer. It will help you determine how the car performs under different road conditions. You take it out for a test drive to make sure everything’s in good working order and to find all possible faults so that you can negotiate for a lower price.

Here are a few things that will help you make the most of your test drive.


Before Driving

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 When you get into the car take a few minutes to get a good feel of the vehicle. Take time to do a brief evalutaion of the interior’s  cosmetics  and familiarize yourself to the placement of the buttons, levers and pedals.

  • Check the seats and the mirrors make sure that they can be adjusted properly.
  • Find your sweetspot adjust the steering distance, the driver’s seat and the mirrors according to your preference.
  • Remember to have the seller walk you through the vehicle’s safety features. Ask for the number of airbags, check active-safety electronics and all adjustable seatbelts.
  • Start the car. Listen to it while it’s idle then step on the gas a bit. Observe if you hear any clicking or coughing. Feel the pedals with you foot make sure that they’re within reach and turn on the air condition to create a comfortable environment.


While Driving

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 Proper test drive should involve driving more than just around the block. You should go 4-5 miles on different roads and speeds to get a good idea of the car’s true range. Listen to the engine’s performance as you head on slowly and as you increase in speed.

  • Make sure that you get a good feel of how the transmission is shifting. Make sure there are no slippage. Listen for whinning or clonking sound when shifting.
    Check out how the break reacts make sure that it is spot on and steady.
  • Let go of the steering wheel to make sure that it tracks straight. Make sure you check if you are able to steer all the way to one direction. If it does not, that indicates alignment issues. If the steering wheel is shaky it means bent or off balanced rims.
  • Pay close attention to the gear and the clutch they should engage smoothly and easily it should not be too stiff and heavy.
  • Check out the cruise control. Make sure it is operating properly. It should disengaged when you hit the breaks and clutch.
  • See how the car responds after hitting bumps. Listen to rattling or squeeking. If there’s knocking when going over bumps or turning sharply that means that the car’s got a worn ball joint.

I strongly suggest that you take notes. Write down the things that you have discovered so you can evaluate the over all experience.


After Driving


After the test drive do not turn the engine off right away. Take a look around to make sure that everything is still in good condition.

  • Open up the hood and check the engine. Check for smoke, odor and any inappropriate gushing of fluids.
  • Bend down to check if there are any leaks. Check the floor for spots. Make sure that there are no fluid dripping.
  • Check the tire’s condition by pushing and pulling it in both direction. Make sure that it is still firm and does not wiggle.

If you are not confident enough to decide on the spot then take it to a professional mechanic for a final verdict. In most cases, the seller will agree to that except when they are hiding something.

Buying a used car is a big investment. You should be careful and not be in a hurry. You need the car long enough to be able to make sure that it is safe to drive and that it suits your needs.

Buying A Used Car: Pre Purchase Inspection Guide


Inspecting the car will help you determine the existing condition as well as highlight potential issues that could arise in the future. By finding out what’s happening underneath, you’ll either feel more confident that you’re making a great investment or you’ll discover that there are hidden flaws that could give you more leverage for negotiations.

Here are a few things that you should check before you seal the deal.


Check the documents

Check The Documents

Get the papers from the seller. Make sure that the specifications corresponds with what they got on paper. Take note of the VIN. Make sure that it also matches. The VIN will be on the engine, on the front end of the frame, the driver’s side of the interior dash and the trunk.

This will help you make sure that you’re not buying a glued on vehicle. This will also help you determine if the seller is the type that you’d rather not deal with. You will know by his willingness to entertain scrutiny and interrogation.


Check for dents and scratches


Check for awkward dents to make sure that it was not wrecked. Sometimes wrecked vehicles will still have those after it’s been done over. It will still leave small indicators like that. So make sure that you watch out for those.

Look for scratches and dings. It should tell you how the car was used. You can also use it to to knock down the price a bit. Check the inside seams, make sure that they’re all still factory looking. If the alignment does not look right be sure to ask why.

Check the body lines make sure that they’re even. Uneven body gaps will allow water to penetrate and will corrode the inside. It is also your indicator that it has been through the shop for a major body work.


Check the tires

 BeFunky_Tirecheckup.jpgTires can tell alot about the car. Make sure that they match, if not ask why. They have played around with it for a reason.

Check the wear on the tires, make sure the depths of the thread are still good, not enough depth means you will have to replace it soon half a finger nail will last a while.

Make sure that the steel radio belt is not sticking out. A wear like this is an indicator that there’s a problem with it’s suspension.

Tires have  4 digit codes:

  • eg1. “1206” – means that it was manufactured on the 12th week of 2006 –
  • eg2.”0114″ – it means first week of 2014.

If you find a car with brand new tires that means that there’s a problem that they’re trying to hide. Also make sure that there’s a roadworthy spare tire.


Check the mileage

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Odometers are often rolled back so the seller can make more money. Cars with low mileage are priced higher. Ommit 35000-40000 miles and it will artificially inflates the value to about $2500 to $3000.

Here are a few tips to determine if the odometer has been tampered.

  • Compare the mileage on display and the average mileage a year.
  • Check the wear and tear, make sure that it’s appropriate to the declared mileage.
  • Check the title, the service records or get the vehicle history report to compare the recorded mileage and the displayed mileage.
  • Check the car’s tires. If it shows 20000 mi or less it should have the original tires.
  • Check number alignment. Make sure that it should not be crooked, contain gaps or jiggle.


Check the fluids

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Checking the fluids will help you determine if the car was properly maintained. It will help you know potential issues that may arise in the future.

  • Look at the engine oil fluid using a dipstick and a piece of cloth.  Brown/yellow tinted is an indication that it was well maintained.
  • Check the brake fluid . Yellow tint is good. Condensation may turn it reddish  it ‘s still fine.
  • Check the coolant fluid. Look into the pressurized reservoir. Lime green color for a properly maintained car.
  • Transmission fluid. It is reddish for properly maintained cars. If there are creamy residue floating, that means there’s an issue.
  • Check the power steering fluid. It is red or clear if it was properly maintained. Any color aside from this means there’s an issue.
  • Check the battery. Corrosion around the battery can cause problems specially during winter. Make sure that the hose and belt ar still firm. Make sure that it is not worn and brittle. Feel them so you can gauge if it will last long or may give out soon and start leaking.


Check the engine

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Check engine for leaks. Look under the vehicle and see if you find any.

Look at the check engine light make sure that it will not stay on when you start the vehicle. If it stays on that means that the engine has a problem.

Perform an initial engine test.

  • Step on the accelarator and the break at the same time.
  • Set it to drive and step on the gas all the way down while holding down the break.
  • A well maintained engine will not die. When it does, that means that the engine has issues.

Check the interior


Make sure that you check all the buttons. Make sure that each is functioning right.

  • Check the windows, the door locks, air conditioning and the sound system.
  • Check the buttons that control the side mirrors, signal lights, wiper blades and the cruise control button.

Remove the back seat and check out the foam below for water lines and molds to see if it was flooded. Most shops will do a good job removing the waterlines outside but leaving marks on the inside.

If you notice anything that’s not functioning right, bring it to the seller’s attention have them fix it or use it to reduce the price.


Check the electrical ciruit

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You may inspect the wiring physically if you are familiar with the path to how it was laid out or if you have a diagram on hand. You do that to check the obvious like missing and worn out wires.

Second, you should check if it is flowing properly. This is done by performing a grounding test using a multimeter or volt meter.You can bring a volt meter when you meet the seller, if you are going to a dealership they should readily have it there and you can just borrow it for the quick test

How to perform a quick grounding test:

  • Place the test lead to the battery, make sure negative is place to the negative pole and positive to positive.
  • Take note of the result.
  • Then remove the negative test lead and test the engine. Take note of the result. If it shows the same numbers then you do not have an issue.
  • You have to do it again this time the engine should be turned on.
  • Do the test while the engine is running. Make sure that you get the same result or close.
  • A difference of .4 of a volt or more is an indication of a grounding issue.

 These are the things that will help you check for problems during your visit for inspection. Make sure that you go through it very carefully to determine if the car is worth the price or not. 

Tips For Buying A Used Car Online


Buying a used car online is an option for people who does not have the time to go car lot hopping and an alternative for those who got tired of dealing with the traditional salesman.

Some find it more convenient since you can easily narrow your search down according to your targeted model and allotted budget while others are hesitant to go this route since they are afraid of the risks involved.

Buying a car online can work for you. Below are some of the things that you should check  out to be successful in getting this task done.


Set Your Limit

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Set the amount that you are willing to spend. Make sure that it is within your range.

  • Consider the type of car that you need, your income and your financial accountabilities. Once you have established your limit, it will be easier for you to filter through online shops and auction sites.
  • It will help you stay grounded and keep you from buying on impulse. It will reduce the risk of straining your family’s budget and help you focus in getting the right one that will suit your daily needs.


Do Your Research


There are lots of rumors and horror stories about buying a used car online. Most of the time they’re from people who have had bad experiences because they were not able to take the time to educate themselves.

  • You should create a list of trusted used car listing and auction sites. Check out online forums for reviews. Keep your list, you will need it to compare prices. Find out how much control they have over the transaction. Find out if they have buyer protection and learn about how much you are covered when you buy from their website. Check for common problems like scams and buyer complaints. Use it to weigh where you feel the safest.
  • When you find a car that catches your attention. Check out the car’s history. Get a vehicle history report. You can use it as a reference to check for potential problems. Check the seller’s history. Use the internet to locate their shop and look for reviews to learn about their reputation. If they’re a private seller get to know them more. Be polite and establish good rapport. It will work to your advantage, private seller’s are more likely to entertain haggling if they are comfortable with the person that they’re dealing with.
  • Create a list of the documents involved. Learn about the documents that you should see before and after purchasing the car. Get in touch with an expert if you do not understand something. Do not hesitate to ask the seller to provide you the car’s paperworks. Make sure that they’re legit . You can check out this blog to find out more about the relevant documents: Buying A Used Car: The Relevant Documents.

Take time to educate yourself and learn the process. It will help you feel confident and it will help you making the correct decision.


Inspect The Car

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One disadvantage of finding a car online is that you will not get to see it immediately you will rely on pictures and the description that’s being presented by the seller.

  • I strongly suggest that you find time to meet the seller and inspect the vehicle. However if it is not possible there are other ways for you to be able to get the feel and experience of being able to check it firsthand.
  • You can find lots of information about the car online, check the manufacturer’s page, download the manual and check forums for user’s feedback. Jot down the car’s strengths and common issues.
  • If the seller is in a faraway state, hire a mechanic who can come and inspect it for you. There are lots of websites who offer this service nowadays. They will send you the result and make sure that you carefully review everything before committing to buy. Go over the mechanic’s feedback and ask questions if you find anything that you are not clear with.


Completing The Transaction


One advantage of buying online is that the prices are already bottomed down. Sellers do that to attract more buyers. It means less time is spent haggling so you are likely to close a deal faster than the traditional way.

  • There are several ways to pay for your purchased vehicle. The seller may include his preferred terms on the listing and some auction sites also have their own payment processing solution. You will also find auto financing sites that can provide immediate approval. However it will still depend on where you feel most comfortable.
  • The seller may ask for a certain amount to serve as your initial deposit and then he will provide a deadline for the rest of the payment. Make sure that you understand his terms since most sellers do not return down payments in case their customer decides to back out of the transaction.
  • Make sure that you keep a copy of the receipt of all the payments that you have already made. Those will be your proof that you have already done your part of the deal.

Transporting The Car


One of the things that most people are worried about is how the car gets delivered. They are worried about the safety of the vehicle and sometimes it is one of the factors that can be most stressful.

Deciding what car transport to use is a matter of your time line, budget and concern over your vehicle being exposed to the elements. Here are the common types of transport method available in the market right now.

  • Truck auto transport is a direct and quick way to ship your car. You have probably seen auto transport trucks on the highway carrying loads of new and used cars. Tractor-trailer car haulers typically transport up to 9-10 vehicles at a time, depending on the vehicle size and types.

  • Enclosed Auto Transport where the cars are being transported in a fully enclosed trailer with either flexible or solid sides, roof and doors. This is the most expensive type of auto transport because fewer cars can be loaded at one time but you are guaranteed that it will be kept safe from being exposed.

  • Open Auto Transport cars are transported on a truck that is open to the elements.

  • Rail transport picks up the vehicle at the origin location and brings it to the appropriate rail terminal, where the vehicle is loaded onto fully enclosed rail equipment. Then you can pick it up on the designated drop off station.

  • Make sure that you are fully covered and also secure a copy of all the paper works. Transporting a car nowadays is ten times better than it was in the past because of modern equipment, online tracking tools and better safety regulations. As a result, cars that are bought online are delivered smoothly and in a timely manner.

    Buying a car online has grown to be the popular choice of many over the past few years. There were successful transactions and there were bad ones. Plan everything carefully and back it up with research.

Tips For Selling A Privately Owned Car

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The time will come when you will want to sell your car.  You can be starting a family and require a new vehicle with more room or just want to treat yourself to a brand new model with modern up to date features. For whatever reason, selling the car yourself is the best way to make the most money out of it. The following are practical tips on how to sell your car.


Clean Your Car



The appearance of your car will help sell it. You will attract more buyers when it is clean and shiny. Start by knocking dust and mud off with running water and a dependable detergent. Start from the shell, go under the hood and down to the tires.

Vacuum the seats and the floor mats. Make sure that you replace the air freshener to get rid of any unpleasant smell that may turn off potential buyers when they come to inspect it. After that, polish and wax the car to have that showroom shine.

A clean car is a reflection of how well the car was treated. It will help you sell it fast at your desired price.


Price It Right

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Picking the right asking price is very important. It will determine if you will get multiple inquiries or none at all. If you price it too high potential buyers will be turned off. If it is too low, they may get suspicious.

You can find some helpful pricing structure from the Internet. You can visit reliable sites such as Yahoo! Autos or Kelley Blue Book for the correct market value. Check the classifieds to know how similar cars are priced.

Consider the car’s condition, mileage, cosmetics and upgrades if there are any. It is wise to determine the amount that you are willing to accept to close the deal so you can have your asking price a little bit above that to save some room for haggling.


Advertise The Car

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Create a banner and put on the windshield then, on the other windows, write the basic details about the car, like the asking price, mileage, year and model. Include your mobile number in a large print size so that the people who pass by the car won’t miss it.

Use the internet. Utilize social networking sites. Take plenty of pictures and create an advertisement on your wall. It will allow you to spread the news not only to your friends and relatives but to their network as well.

Create a listing on classified advertising sites like eBay Motors, Auto Trader, Kelly Blue Book and also Craigslist. Be honest and detailed with your description. Include photos of spots that has dents or scratches. Though most of these sites charge for advertising, it’s worth it for the number of buyers you can reach.

Let us not forget about the local magazines and newspapers. They have special sections for used car advertising. It may not be as visible as the other options but it is low-cost and most of the time those who look at those sections are the people who are really in the hunt to buy a car.


Meet With Potential Buyers

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Before setting an appointment to show your car, it is important that you screen your potential buyers. This is to avoid wasting your time on someone who is not really interested in buying or on someone who you’d rather not deal with. It is also a precaution to keep you safe from those who have bad intentions. You should ask for the person’s full name and be willing to answer all their questions. Tell them your preferred payment method and set your conditions clearly.


Meet in a public place and do not come alone. Bring all the documents and papers. Expect that they will inspect that before they physically inspect the car.


Make sure that you check his driver’s license before the test drive and make sure that he agrees with your time limit before driving. Ride along with him and use it as an opportunity to talk about your car’s strengths. Be willing to share why you bought that particular car and why you’re selling it now.


Negotiate The Price

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After having the car inspected and tested by the potential buyer. They may still want to try their luck to get you to lower the down the price.


If your car have issues they may use it to have you bring down the price, tell them you already factored that into your price. Sometimes they will pretend that they do not like it for some reason then they would tell you that they were able talk to another seller who is offering the same car at a lower price. They will tell you that they would get yours if you can beat the other person’s price.


You should be ready for those scenarios, keep your cool and be polite in declining their request. Be firm with how much you’re willing to get and they will get the message. They’ll feel that you’re not desperate and the chances of closing the deal in your favor will more likely be accomplished.


Keep in mind that they have already invested a lot of time and gas in coming over to see it so even if you don’t lower your price, 90% of the time they will still buy it.

After receiving confirmation that the person would buy it. Gather all the relevant paperwork for your car and prepare the bill of sale, it’s the proof that the purchase has indeed taken place. Include receipts for work done on your car. It’ll show that you’ve attended to all problems and will avoid future disputes.

Scams To Avoid When Buying A Used Car

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Buying a new car should be a pleasant experience for both the customer and the seller. However, many used car purchasers fall prey to the scams of unscrupulous dealers.

This article will introduce you to some of the common tactics used by bad car dealers. Once you are already familiar with how they’re played, you will be able avoid it and save yourself from being scammed.


Multiple Buyers Bluff

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When a salesman notice that you are interested in one of his cars, he will tell you that there are multiple intrested parties who may come back to buy the car. He will do this to pressure you to buy the car on the spot. He will make you feel that if you do not take it now, somebody else will.

If you sense that the negotiation is headed this way, take it easy. Do not show that you are worried because you already know at the back of your head that it’s just a tactic. Take your time, do your research and make sure that you do a thorough inspection. He may be hiding something that’s why he’s rushing you to get it on the spot.


Title Washing

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Bad dealers hide the history of a vehicle that’s been salvaged. Salvage titles are assigned to cars that are deemed total loss by insurance companies. This is also referred to as “branding” a vehicle. Vehicles with branded titles have lower market value and difficult to sell. Title washing washes away the brand. Once the brand has been eliminated, the car’s value goes up and it’s a lot easier to sell.

Titles are washed by transfering a salvaged vehicle to a state that doesn’t recognize the brand. When the state issues a new title, it may no longer show that it had been salvaged. If not, the seller will move it from state to state until the branding is gone. When it is, the vehicle’s history will have been “washed” clean.

Make sure that you get the VIN and get a vehicle history report. This will help you check if the car has a clean title.


Fake Escrow Service Scam


The target of this scam are online used car buyers. The scammer will use stolen images and post bogus vehicle listings online. The scammer will pretend to be the owner of the car being sold. The selling price is much lower than other listings for the same car, to lure you into contacting the seller.

The seller will refuse to meet up since he’s overseas and he can only do the transaction using the “fake escrow service”. After you register you will get a bogus email, telling you to deposit the payment through cash wiring services like Western Union, Moneygram etc.. After the payment has been sent, the seller will no longer respond and your hard earned money is gone.

Be careful when buying online. If the price is too good to be true do a background check. If you find the seller shady, walk away from the deal. Look for established sellers with sufficient feedback to back up their credibility.




Curbstoners are people who actively and regularly buy and sell vehicles without a license, proper permit or a legally established place of business and pretends to be private sellers in order to attract buyers.

You can easily become a victim of fraud involving issues like Odometer Tampering, Undisclosed Frame Damage or Salvage Rebuilt Vehicles, Faulty Safety Devices, Mechanics or Promissory Liens and other problems that may not be truthfully disclosed at the time of sale.

When a car is bought from him, he will leave the title blank or “open.” Without his name on the document to avoid paying Sales Tax, Federal Income Tax and any other declarations that are legally required.

You will find them along the highway and on free advertising sites, like Craigslist. Be sure to check the contact number, if it appears on various private-party listings. If it does, then you know that the seller is one of them. Verify the name on the Certificate of Ownership (title) matches the seller’s name. Avoid sellers who only accepts  cash and refuses checks or money orders.


Yoyo Financing


In this situation, the dealer allows you to leave with the car before the financing have been finalized. You will later receive a call informing you that the deal cannot be made as agreed. So you would have to come back and they will pressure you to accept new, more expensive terms using a variety of tactics.

To avoid this, make sure that the financing is final before you leave with the car. Do not forget to ask for a copy of confirmation, signed by the lender.

These are some of the dirty tactics used by bad dealers. Make sure that you remember them when you go out there to begin your search. If you sense that the negotiation is headed towards any of these, then it’s time to walk away and find a better deal somewhere else.

The Basic Structure Of A Used Car Dealership


When you are in the market for a used car, it is important that you know and understand the basic structure of a used car dealership. This will give you a heads up on what to expect once you’re there and an idea on how they will accommodate you on your visit.

Here I will enumerate the basic structure of a used car dealership and how they function. It will help out in your preparation so you’ll have the confidence in implementing your car buying strategy.


The Sales Force

BeFunky_Sales team1.jpg

They are the front liners. They would assist you and facilitate the car sale. They will hand you the buyer’s guide for the car that you will be interested in. They’ll go over it with you and make sure that all your questions are answered.

Keep in mind that they are there to make sure that your time spent was worth it. So better use it to your advantage. Make sure that you have all the time that you need for inspection, do not be pressured. Ask as many questions as you can and do not hesitate to haggle.


The Management


This team is composed of the head of each department. Most probably you will have a brief moment with one of them while inspecting a car. They are likely to approach you and the associate to check on the progress of the sale or to simply give you a warm welcome.

You will see them on their designated area working with their team. They are there to coach, mentor and train their members.They make sure that they are motivated and equipped to take on their assigned tasks.

They also make sure that business strategies are wisely implemented. Above all, they make sure that the firm’s operation is flowing accordingly.


The Accounting Department

BeFunky_accountant 3.jpg

This department is responsible for recording and tracking sales, services and repair bills and all warranty claims.

The people behind this department are the machinery behind the sales team. They determine the amount of discount and price to be attached to each vehicle model. They work in very close coordination with all the other departments in the dealership.


The Service Department

BeFunky_service 2.jpg

When the car that you bought fails to operate properly while under warranty, the dealership is under obligation to offer a refund or servicing.

Most used car dealerships have an in house servicing department that is responsible for all repairs and maintenance of vehicles. The guys and gals in this department have a sixth sense that can diagnose a car by listening to the roar of the engine.


Finance and Insurance department


After you confirm your intention to purchase a vehicle, the sales person will take you to the F&I team. It is then the mandate of this department to figure out which loan or payment module best suit you.

I will encourage you to go through this carefully to make sure that terms that you will get is within your range. Analyze your monthly expenditures and be as honest as you can when disclosing other financial commitments so that you will be able to get the payment scheme that will work out well for you.

Most of the cars bought in the US are financed. Financing can come in a number of ways, one of which is loans. Loans are a preference of most new car owners because of their easy repayment, the department responsible for marketing car loans is the finance and insurance department (F&I).

Used car dealerships work in close coordination with banks, this ensures that they get lease or loan financing at lower rates. A dealership may get the financing from a partner bank at about 6% they would then offer the car buyer the same car financing at 8%, they will have a profit of 2% on the loan.

There are good dealers and bad dealers out there, so you should be careful when buying a car to ensure the overall package you are getting is fair for you.

History Of NMVTIS

The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System Photograph

The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) is an initiative from the federal government designed to keep stolen vehicles from being sold. Its main purpose is to prevent the reintroduction of stolen motor vehicles into the market.

  • NMVTIS was instated to protect consumers from vehicular fraud and unsafe vehicles. It also serves as a tool for law enforcers to deter the sales of fraudulent titles and reduce the incidence of crimes involving the use of stolen automobiles.

  • It serves as reliable electronic system that can be used as a tool by titling agencies to instantly verify the information on the title records with the data from the issuing state.

  • The NMVTIS provides commercial and individual consumers with an accessible means to retrieve important vehicle history information such as title data, brand history, odometer reading, total loss history and salvage history.


1980s: Car Theft And Carjacking Was A Growing Problem


Car Theft

Car theft and fraud was a growing problem in the early and mid 1980s. Despite the enactment of the Motor Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act of 1984, car theft was still a major problem by the early 1990s.

  • Before the 1990s, car-theft and auto fraud-related crimes still carried minor charges and lighter sentences. Investigators during the time had also believed that inscribing or affixing the Vehicular Identification Number (VIN) onto the engine, the transmission and 12 major body parts of the auto provided them with enough tool to detect, apprehend and prosecute car thieves.

  • The parts marking allowed law enforcers to identify stolen vehicles or parts removed from stolen vehicles. It also served as a deterrent for professional car hustlers since it introduced a greater risk for capture and increased difficulty in reselling marked parts. Parts marking officially began in 1987.

  • Despite this initiative, a survey in 1992 revealed that the reported incidence of car theft had only grown from 830,000 in 1984 to 1,270,000 in 1990.

  • Increasing incidences of violent carjackings resulting in fatalities were also reported nationwide. In the aftermath of a series of carjacking incidences where several victims were murdered, the US Congress was called into action. Pressed to search for a stronger solution for the problem and in response to the Department of Transportation’s recommendations, the Congress passed the Anti Car-Theft Bill into law.

  • It was the first federal carjacking law which criminalized the usage of firearms and force in stealing a motor vehicle.

    Anti Car Theft Act (ACT) of 1992: A necessary Answer To The Growing Problem




    Birth of NMVTIS


    After it was passed into a law by the Congress on October 1992, Title II of the Anti-Car Theft Act mandated the United States’ Department of Transportation to develop a national information system which would enable states and other stakeholders to gain access to automobile titling information by January 31, 1996.
  • The Act was primarily designed to tackle the increasing incidence rate of automobile-related robberies and criminal activities. It was enacted to decrease the trafficking of illegal and stolen vehicles and protect consumers from fraudulent vehicular titles.

  • In order to fulfill its responsibilities, the DOT delegated the task to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) on April 25, 1993.

  • The NHTSA, in turn, formed a task force known as Motor Vehicle Titling, Registration and Salvage Advisory Committee to spearhead the development of NMVTIS.

  • On February 1994, the task force, which involved affected industries, recommended the following:
  • (1) Passage of federal legislation requiring uniform definitions of salvage vehicles

    (2) funding sources for the titling system

    (3) penalties to enforce compliance.
  • The Department of Transportation accepted most of the recommendations and sent the proposed legislation to Congress with the request of extending the deadline for the implementation of the NMVTIS to October 1997. The extension request was made under the grounds of conducting a pilot run for the program.Around the same period of time, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) was also appointed as NMVTIS’ system operator.
  • In order to facilitate the development of the NMVTIS, the AAMVA requested funding for a pilot study from the NHTSA. Unfortunately, this request was denied despite the $890,000 congressional appropriation.


    The Development Stage Of NMVTIS


    Schumer on NMVTIS

    On November 29, 1995, then-New York Representative Chuck Schumer, who was a member of the House Judiciary Committee at the time, called for the General Accounting Office (GAO) to evaluate the implementation status of NMVTIS. In order to send the progress of NMVTIS further forward, the House Resolution 2803 (Anti-Car Theft Improvements Act) was introduced on December 1995.

  • This allowed the transfer of the jurisdiction over NMVTIS from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Justice.

  • It also granted the original deadline extension request made by the DOT and provided immunity to participants (e.g. systems operators, insurers and salvagers) who make good faith efforts to comply with the law. GAO was finally able to comply to Rep. Schumer’s request on April 22, 1996 and published the report entitled “Anti-Car Theft Act: Implementation Status of Certain Provisions of the 1992 Act”.

  • The report elaborated that both DOT and DOJ failed in developing the NMVTIS within the deadlines provided and recommended for certain measures to be taken.

    NMVTIS Funding Approved


    Ashcroft on NMVTIS

    On July 23, 1998, Senator John Ashcroft, who was then the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs of the Senate Commerce Committee, expressed concerns over the NMVTIS.After meeting with Carfax, Sen. Ashcroft called the system a “Washington boondogle” and requested GAO for a comprehensive report on the implementation status and projected costs and benefits of NMVTIS to ensure that additional government investments are justified.

  • GAO responded on August 13, 1999 and issued the report entitled “Anti-Car Theft Act: Issues Concerning Additional Federal Funding of Vehicle Title Information System” which concluded that the Department of Justice has not performed a cost-benefit evaluation for NMVTIS and that such an analysis must be conducted.

  • It was only in 2001 that the Justice Department evaluated NMVTIS, through its own cost-benefit analysis, and declared the system as a profitable investment for federal funds.

  • The 1999 GAO report also included AAMVA’s projected estimate of $34 Million which will cover the development and implementation of the system.

  • The AAMVA was able to report in 2000 that the vehicle title information system it developed is capable of fulfilling the requirements set by the ACTA. However, the association identified funding as the main barrier for the implementation of the program across all states.

  • It also noted that the participation of junk yards and car insurance companies in reporting car fraud incidences was significantly hindered by the Justice Department’s failure to issue the regulations required by the Act.

    The Present:

    Coverage and Impact of the NMVTIS

     NMVTIS Coverage

    The NMVTIS provides a means of verifying whether or not a title is valid. It also provides the information of the vehicle’s reported mileage, where a vehicle bearing a known VIN is currently titled and whether the vehicle is currently reported as junk or salvage.

    Currently, all states and jurisdictions are required to participate in reporting to the NMVTIS.

  • The NMVTIS contains the following information:
  • (1) State of title

    (2) Title number

    (3) Title Issue Date

    (4) Previous VIN

    (5) Odometer

    (6) Vehicle brand.

  • The system does not include data on owner information  and any other DPPA information. It covers motor vehicles only (e.g. trucks, cars, mopeds, motorcycles and buses) and does not include trailers/semis, golf carts, ATVs and off-highway machineries. Currently, a substantial increase in the number of participating states has been been observed.

  • Right now 96% of the US Department of Motor Vehicle Data is represented in the system. There are 6 states that is in development along with the District of Columbia and it will be soon until the remaining states are included.

Buying A Used Car: The Relevant Documents

  • Used Car Buyer Photo

If  you are out on a quest to buy a used car here are a few things that you should know before you go out and begin the hunt. The following documents will help ensure the car you buy is safe, legal and in a reasonable condition.

Documents That You Should Check Before Buying

Buyer Photo

Before any purchase or commitment is done, the buyer must properly inspect the car. Viewing the car in daylight is highly recommended. The buyer should  receive the following documents and information from the dealer before any agreement can be done.

1. A duly-filled Buyer’s Guide

Buyer guide Photo

The Buyer’s guide is a document that every seller must provide to a buyer. It contains crucial information about the purchase history of the car and whether the car comes with a warranty or not.

It should contain the major issues about the car that the buyer should be prepared for and the cost of repair the dealer is willing to pledge under warranty. The guide is also a reference that should be kept after the sales.

2. Vehicle information

  VIN Record.

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) should be provided to the buyer before the sales. The code indicated in the document should match with the etchings found on the car’s chassis (location may vary) in order to check if the car has been rebuilt sometime in its history.

The VIN is also necessary in obtaining the vehicle history report from the DMV to verify if the vehicle had ever been reported as wrecked or stolen. This information should also be supplemented by the car make, car model and model year.

 3. Dealer Information

Car Dealership Photo.

The dealer’s name and contact information should be made available to the buyer. This should be printed or included in the Buyer’s guide.

  4. Warranty Information

 Warranty good

Although typically included in the Buyer’s guide, warranty certificates (if there are any) should be provided by the car salesman. It should be able to indicate whether the warranty is Full or Limited, as well as the percentage of repair cost that the warranty can cover. Manufacturer’s warranty, if still applicable, should also be included with the documents.

Documents That You Should Check  Upon Purchase

After validating the condition of the car and the package that it comes with, the following documents should be prepared by the dealer in order to finalize a purchase.

1. Bill of Sale

 Bill of sale used car.

A bill of sale is a document that serves as the record of a car sale. Although it is not required in all states, the buyer should still be provided with this document as proof that the purchase has indeed taken place.

It should contain the date of sales and dealer information. It should also include the purchase price, vehicle type and other information such as odometer reading. A bill of sale does not prove ownership though and a title transfer must be secured in order to fully give ownership of the car to the buyer.

2. Car title

Used Car Title.

The car title is the most important document a buyer must receive from the seller during a car sales. It is the most crucial requirement for a title transfer and must be secured by the buyer no matter what. Compared to buying a brand new car, applying for a title transfer of used cars requires more effort.

Dealers usually help a lot in applying for title transfers since they are the ones responsible in providing the necessary documents, but the filing of the application is the buyer’s responsibility. The requirements for a title transfer vary from state to state but it usually includes a title transfer application form, odometer reading, the VIN, bill of sale and the title certificate.

3. Clearance from the institution that has financed the vehicle.

In cases wherein the seller has originally bought the car under a financing, a “Notice of Security Interest Filing” must be submitted. This is done in order to prove that the lien has been satisfied and that the seller has no withholding obligations in the financing institution. A letter from the financier will also be sufficient enough in cases where a “Notice of Security Interest Filing” is not available.

Documents That You Should Get After Payment

After the payment has been done, the buyer’s priority shifts from securing the documents that prove his ownership of the car to legally transferring the title of the car under his/her name.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is the government agency involved and these are the typical requirements they impose to register a recently purchased secondhand car.


1. Vehicle Inspection Certificate


cert of inspection photograph

All cars that undergo the registration process must be duly inspected first for any safety issues. Licensed inspection stations are scattered across cities and counties, and even the dealer could be an authorized inspector. Some inspection certificates are valid for 90 days or even longer.

2. Proof of Insurance


This must be secured prior to registration and the dealer should be able to provide the buyer with enough information on how to secure one. If the buyer holds a driver’s license from any American state, he/she can apply for a policy from any insurance company. Foreign license holders are either asked for higher premiums or required to convert to a local license.

3. Temporary Registration Certificate

Used car temporary certificate.

Cars which passed inspection could apply for a temporary registration. Temporary registrations could be valid for 30 days from the issuance date and may be purchased after settling the necessary fees. The temporary license allows the buyer to provide the necessary repairs to the car and transport it to its destination.

This is definitely a must know if you are the type who would always like to be a step ahead. This will help you come up with your negotiation strategy and it will send a bold warning to the salesman that you are not a pushover and that you are prepared. Remember, “the well prepared warrior always gets the victory”. When you’re going out there always think that you’re a warrior and your victory is getting your desired car at a reasonable price.