1. Take someone objective with you who knows about cars. Don’t take anyone who benefits from the sale of the car.
2. Take it for a test drive. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
3. Decide how much money you are willing to invest in fixing a car. If the brakes or transmission need to be repaired, you might want to consider another automobile. Also, get the Carfax history.
4. Find a used car inspection checklist like this: one http://www.samarins.com/check/simplecheck.html or an article about buying a used car like this one: http://www.doublethebatch.com/find-good-used-car-world-used-car-crap/
5. Get the title signed in front of a notary. Do some research. You probably know someone who knows a notary. Also, most banks have a notary available free of charge.
Trust me. I wish I had done all of these things before buying a used car that I regret buying. So now I will be having a closer relationship with a mechanic than I intended. What do you get your mechanic for Christmas?