8 Tips for buying a used car

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Buying a used car can be an intimidating process. 3TV's Gina Maravilla talk to industry insider Jesse Pap and learned some things to help you get the best car for your money and close the deal.

Before you go to the dealership

1. Know your credit score. That all-important number will determine your negotiating position and, eventually, your payment. You want to know what kind of loan you can qualify for and afford.

2. Know the car type that you want, but be flexible.

3. Go to the dealership/franchise store for the maker of the car you intend to buy. They get better prices on their inventory and can pass that savings on to you. They also can give you the factory warranty to you for an extended term.

At the dealership

1. Go to both CarFax.com and AutoCheck.com get a vehicle history report. Getting information from both will give you the most comprehensive look at the car you're about ti buy.

2. Take it to your mechanic for a once-over. Chances are he or she might find a few minor issues, but he or she should also be able to warn you about any major red flags. Your mechanic's opinion is valuable, so pay attention to his or her guidance.

3. Make sure you negotiate the price, not just the payments. That's where knowing what kind of loan you can get comes in handy. Also, do not focus on the monthly payments. Those can be stretched out for years.

4. Leverage is key. Be ready to walk out if you're not comfortable with the deal. If you're ready to make an offer, be ready to buy the car right then and there.

5. Listen to your guy. If you're signing the paperwork and something does not feel right, you have the right to call off the deal and/or ask questions.

"Don't keep your mouth shut," Pap said. "Make sure that your opinion is heard."