Buying a vehicle can be both a stressful and rewarding experience, especially if you plan on purchasing a used vehicle. Even if you get great financing and find the exact car you want with all the extras, there is still a chance that the car may not be as reliable as you hoped.  To avoid any future headaches, and empty bank accounts, be sure to do all of your homework first.

Read independent reviews from people who own the car you want. Web sties like and have a Consumer Review section for every car by make, year and model. Here, owners have the opportunity to share their views and experiences. These reviews are a great source of first hand information and can tell you exactly what to expect, from problems to compliments. Just make sure you read a few of them so as not to get a biased perspective. Once you found the car you like and know the good and the bad about it, all you need next is to find someone selling the car.

More specifically, you should find a car with a clean history. Worse then buying a car that with seats that seem to get more uncomfortable the longer you drive is buying a car with water damage. This usually means that the electrical system, the interior and the cars engine have been sitting in water for a period of at least two days. Traditionally these vehicles are taken to junkyards and are stripped for usable parts. However, this is not always the case.

The practice of selling damaged vehicles is kept alive by curbstoners. Curbstoners purchase damaged cars in volume, fix and resell them to dealerships and consumers who are interested in buying a less expensive automobile. Frequently, these cars are only minimally repaired and taken out of state to be re-titled as undamaged vehicles and are more commonly found after severe weather, such as after a flood or hurricane. Water damage to a car is tough to identify because the vehicle will continue to run, but its days are numbered. To ensure the safety of the future driver and the cars reliability, you will need to pull out a magnifying glass and start investigating.

What to do when looking at a used car:

– Have the car looked at by a trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection

– Check the reputation of the dealership

– If purchasing a vehicle through the classifieds, check for multiple listings by the same owner (compare the advertised phone number to call)

– Review the vehicles history., is a good website for this purpose (you will need the vehicles VIN number) Inspect the car for water lines and signs of rust (check the glove compartment and underneath the seats)

If you do not feel 100% comfortable with a seller (or the vehicle), then perhaps it is a sign you should walk away from the deal. Visit for free educational information and warning signs to look out for when purchasing a used vehicle. If you believe you have purchased a lemon, contact the Department of Consumer Affairs in your state to find out what you can do.