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Now that you’ve settled down in the United States as an international student, you may be considering purchasing your own means of transportation.  But if you live on a tight budget, you should consider buying a used car.[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Price Range for a Used Car” color=”blue” size=”sm”][vc_column_text]How much money do you need to buy a used car?  Well, that depends on several factors. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • Where you live
  • The brand
  • Type of car
  • The car’s age.
  • The car’s condition
  • The car’s mileage

Tips from U.S. Government

These tips are helpful in your search for a used car and avoiding a defective vehicle.   These crucial tips include:

    1. Understanding your rights as a consumer.   Your state or local consumer protection office is available for free consultation.
    2. Contact your state’s motor vehicle department to learn what documents you need to register your newly purchased vehicle.
    3. Shop around and compare the prices of different used cars that interest you.
    4. Ask the seller for a detailed history of the car.   According to USA.gov (a website belongs to U.S. government), you should get the car’s vehicle history information number (VIN). You can visit vehiclehistory.gov and buy vehicle history reports gathered by the state motor vehicle departments and other sources.   (You may also get a car’s history report from website CarFax.com.)
    5. Find out if there is any rebate offered by the car manufacturer or dealer that may save you money.
    6. Be aware of hidden extra costs added to the used car price.  Figure out how much you will have to pay for sale tax,  auto club memberships, and extended warranties.
    7. If you want to buy a fuel-efficient or an environmentally friendly car, visit Fueleconomy.gov to learn more.
    8. Use your state’s motor vehicle department website to search for a car’s title and history.

Other Useful Info

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a searchable online database of recalls, investigations, and complaints about a car’s brand.
  • The website of Center for Auto Safety provides information on safety defects, recalls, and “lemons” (Lemon Laws for dealing with buying defective cars) and many technical service bulletins.
  • Make sure that if the mileage indicated on the paper is the same as the odometer reading.
  • If the warranty is still good, you should contact the car manufacturer to find out if that warranty is transferable, and get it in writing if it is.
  • Ask the dealer for a copy of their return policy in writing.
  • If your finances allow, have an independent mechanic check the vehicle for any possible or hidden problems before purchasing.
  • Exam all documents carefully whether you are buying a car or leasing it  (If you lease or rent a car, the car title is not yours).

 

USA.gov warns of unfair leases using terms such as “balloon payment” and “base on mileage” disclosures.

 

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