Buying a used car is a great way to save money, but that's only if you can avoid the used car salesman who is trying to rip you off. Granted, not all used car salesmen are bad, but you always must be cautious about not being overly charmed. Consider that most used cars aren't protected by any kind of warranty, and the need for caution is justified. When dealing with a used car salesman, you must be confident, collected and direct. Rather than walk onto car lots with nothing in mind, research which vehicles you want, and then go looking for those cars. Don't consider buying anything you haven't already researched yourself. Even the most charming used car salesman can't sell you a bad deal if you're already aware of what you should be paying. You should also be prepared to ask the right questions about any used vehicle, including requests for service records and any information about accidents involving the vehicle. Don't buy from a used car salesman until all of your questions are answered.

How do you find out about the car history?

There are several different services that offer a cars history. First you will need to get the car's VIN number. The dealer should be able to supply this, and it can often be found inside the door jamb or under the hood along the fender. This number is the identifier, specific to that car, and with it you can look up the car's entire history.
Some dealers will do this for you. If they refuse, ask them why.

What if I get stuck with a real lemon?

Check your local state laws. Many states will have a 'lemon' law that can protect you. Also, contact the Better Business Bureau about the experience you've had.

What is the Blue Book value?

Always check the Kelley Blue Book to find the value of not just the vehicle you want to buy, but also the vehicle you want to trade in. Never deviate from these values. Used car salesmen will obviously try to sell you cars for more than they're worth in the Blue Book, but the Blue Book quotes the prices that dealerships should be charging to still make decent profits. Most of the time, used car salesmen will gladly sell vehicles for their actual Blue Book values. Don't let them take you for a ride!

How can you get me into this car for less money?

When you've seemed to finish your negotiations over an auto price, as your salesman what else he can do to get you into this car for less money. This is a great sales tactic that you can use in your favor; most of the time, the salesman will knock a little more off the price, just to ensure the sale.

Can I take a test drive?

Never, ever, ever buy a used car without a lengthy test drive. Insist that you drive in various conditions, too. The car's engine will be broken in enough for you to drive it like you stole it. This is your chance to really push the car and listen for any strange knocks or noises.

What if this car breaks down two days from now?

How can you be sure you're making a smart investment in a used car? A reputable dealer may offer to cover any repairs required within a short period of time, just to give you peace of mind that you haven't bought a lemon. Avoid used car salesmen who are adamant against paying for repairs needed right after you leave the lot.