Buying a Used Car

Posted on Apr 1, 2013 in Cars, RICO

1/15/13 [RICO]

Buying a car – new or used – can be exciting! RICO offers the following information to help steer you in the right direction!

First, do some research before leaving the house…think about the car model and the options you want, so you have an idea of how much you will need to spend. Then, think about how much you can AFFORD.

Check consumer magazines for reviews and ratings. Then, check the Kelly Blue Book, classified ads, and other sources to determine the range of prices for the car you want. You may also want to check insurance rates. Some cars, and some options, cost more to insure than others.

Prices of used cars are not regulated by law and are negotiable, so be sure to shop around. Remember, you’re the one that will decide if the deal goes through, and if you’re not satisfied with what’s being proposed, you can just say “you’re going to have to look around some more”.

But, if you’re serious about purchasing consider talking interest rates and terms with your local bank or credit union first. Dealer financing may not offer the best interest rates.

And, be clear about what’s provided in the purchase price. Used cars are subject to wear, tear, abuse, and accidents, and, many of these conditions are not readily apparent. Before buying, consider having a used car checked out by a licensed automobile mechanic to avoid unwanted surprises.

Lastly, be aware that once that final contract is signed, you’re legally bound. So, read every document carefully before signing. Watch for any fees that may appear on the final contract, and if you don’t understand what those fees cover, ASK! While, there is usually a “documentation fee” tacked on most car purchases, you should question any fees you are not sure of…many extra fees are NOT MANDATORY!

Under Hawaii law, you will receive written documentation about Hawaii’s Lemon Law and information about door-to-door sales. Read this information carefully. And, if a dealer doesn’t discuss it with you, let us know.

For more information on these and other topics, visit the State’s website at or call the Consumer Resource Center at 587-4272.