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Buying Used Cars “As Is”

What does it mean when a car is sold “as is”? It means that the transaction occurs for the car in whatever condition it is in at the moment of the sale. In other words, the buyer is legally accepting the responsibility for any and all repairs needed after the car is driven off the lot of the used car dealer. The buyer is accepting the car with all of its known and unknown problems. When buying used cars in this situation, the buyer should take extra precaution to examine and check the background information to find the best used car to buy. If anything wrong with the vehicle is discovered after the purchase, it is the buyer’s responsibility, unless there was an instance of fraud in the deal.

The good news is that the used car dealer must clearly state that a vehicle is being sold “as is”. Dealers state this on the Buyer’s Guide by checking a box labeled “As Is- No Warranty”. The government has set up regulations to protect consumers from unknowingly buying a vehicle that is “as is”; however, once the vehicle is purchased it most likely cannot be returned. There are some exceptions and modifications set up by the Attorney General for “as is” vehicles. If on the Buyer’s Guide the box is checked, and the dealer promises to repair or cancel a sale if there are any problems, then make sure that promise is written in the Buyer’s Guide. Buyers should be wary if the car is marked “as is”.

If you purchase an “as is” vehicle, you can check out the Federal Trade Commission for information regarding things that can be done to the car in its specific state. Look up “As Is- No Warranty.”

Consider why the car is being sold “as is”. You should be getting the car for a low cost; a great deal for what it is, because you may need to put more money into the car to make it last. It is similar to buying a “fixer-upper” house. Just like the car, there are unknown repairs that need to be dealt with that the seller is unwilling to make themselves. Before deciding to buy a car and settling on a purchase price, think about the price of the vehicle and consider that there may be imminent repairs. If the used car dealer is selling the car “as is”, there is usually a reason for it. The dealer does not have to disclose any known problems to the customer. For instance, a car’s structure is important to its longevity, and if a car has structural damage it is very difficult for a buyer to get that information without doing research outside of the dealership.

That is why it is important to do proper research before buying a used car, like running a CARFAX Vehicle History Report to discover any unknown issues. Doing your homework on how to buy a used car “as is” will give you more confidence when shopping. Once the car is purchased there is no option to return it at any time unless it has been stated in the contract before purchasing the car. Be aware that once an “as is” vehicle is purchased, that vehicle becomes the owner’s problem. Dealers make sure to protect themselves when selling an “as is” car, and consumers should do the same.

13 thoughts on “Buying Used Cars “As Is””

  1. Here in Saskatchewan I believe you have buyers protection when you purchase a vehicle. A 30 day grace period where someone can return the goods. However, once you’ve purchased a car from someone good luck finding them to get your refund as well you’d have to take them to small claims court. Not sure if it would be worth it.

    Cool post,


  2. I would always be cautious about purchasing a car ‘as is’ from a dealership. If they do not offer you a warranty, then there is a good chance that they are hiding something. If they are confident the car is in good condition, they will offer a warranty, simple as that.

  3. I work in the used car business and from my experience there are two reasons to sell “as is”. Either the price has been whittled down to a very low or negative profit or there is a problem/problems with the car. It can still be a great deal as long as you know before you buy. Ask the question. Find out before hand. California has strict rules about this and there are ways to make them work for you. You can always ask me about policy.

    1. I just purchased a used car Monday and this is the second time I drove it and noticed the transmission is going out….what can I do since I purchased a “as is “….. am I stuck with the loan and a screwed up car?

  4. Wow! I like how you dealt with the issue of “as-is” cars in this post. You’re right. Buying an “as is” car is like buying a house with hidden damages. When you buy it, you’re like buying your own stress.

  5. Great …very informative Post. Buying a used car is very difficult. We actually don’t know the internal machinery problems of car. We face these problems after buying, so, we should have to do proper research while buying an used car.

  6. I bought a as is truck a year ago and I have been told a few different things when I first bought the car it was a little squirrely in the front end I took it I. To the shop and had to replace the a frams on both sides then just yesterday I had to change my hub I come to find that who every had it before me had replaced it before and two bolts we’re factory the other was a bolt was just a bolt stuck through the hole and a but on the other side I drive my kid around in it everyday I thought they had to do at least a safety check before it is sold any advise

  7. Bought a 2005 Chevy Venture (Ameri Van Conversion) with about 31,000 miles on 12/12/14 “As is No Warranty” Thought it was good because of low miles. Since then in May van overheated. Was all rusted and gunky inside radiator and bypass hose burst. Think raidator should have been checked.
    Repairs cost 405.00 Also Right rear air ride shock cost $598. to replace.
    Should n’t they have at least checked the radiator. It did not get like that in only five months I have had it.

  8. I bought a car from a dealer that didn’t tell me the mileage thing did not work he says it isn’t because of the year of the car but he never notified me of it I brought it to his attention told him I wasn’t happy he told me to bring the car back and we give me my money back now he’s trying to change is mine what can I do

  9. I ran a vin on carfax and it says 23 reports on a vehicle I’m thinking about buying. Is that an excessive amount ? I didn’t buy the report.

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