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Buying a Vehicle

OfferUp is a great place to find a vehicle, both dealers and private sellers regularly post new and used cars, trucks, and other vehicles for sale.

When purchasing a vehicle of any kind (pre-owned or new), there are several steps you can take to help ensure a smooth purchasing process.

Check the vehicle history report

Many users will provide the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) in the post description or will share it in messages upon request. The VIN can be used to gather the vehicle history report and provide information on any previous accidents, changes in ownership, and title status. If a vehicle has a negative report, it is not encouraged to more forward with a sale.

Inspect the vehicle

A personal and profession inspection (especially important when purchasing a used vehicle) is essential. It is not recommended to purchase a vehicle without an in-person inspection, ideally with a mechanic that you know and trust. Purchasing vehicles sight-unseen is never advised and is done at the buyer's own risk.

Test drive the vehicle

A test drive is also important to help you determine if the vehicle is in good condition and will meet your personal transportation needs. It's also a good idea to ask for the vehicle's service records so that you'll know if the vehicle has has regular and all scheduled/required maintenance.

Transferring ownership and payment

From a Private Seller

Prior to handing over payment, ensure that the seller has properly transferred ownership. Request the title, or pink slip, and have them sign it over to you. When purchasing a car from a private seller, have your bank issue a certified cashier's check or to pay with cash. Other forms of payment (i.e. electronic/wire transfers, gift cards, or other vouchers) are not recommended.

From a Dealership

When purchasing a car from a dealership, take care to review all fees and contracts prior to purchase. This often includes a documentation fee, smog fee, tax, and license fee.

In either case, rules governing vehicle transfer vary among states, be sure to check with your local DMV first.

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