Jay Leno’s 3 Common Sense Tips for Buying a Used Car

Jay Leno explains what to look for when in the market for a used car 4 photos
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If you’re in the market for a used car, Jay Leno is here to lend a helping hand. Boasting a collection of almost 150 vehicles, many of which have had previous owners, the television personality and avid car collector knows a thing or two about getting the best deal for the money you have.
Sure, many of Leno’s cars cost more than a mansion, like the McLaren F1 he bought for $800,000 and is now worth $12 million. If anything, this proves that when it comes to car buying advice, he is probably the go-to guy because he has an eye for these things.

In a recent video for CNBC Make It, which you will also find at the bottom of the page, Leno offers 3 basic tips for anyone looking to buy a used car. The most common sense one is to keep your eyes peeled. When you meet the seller, look closely to see what kind of car he is trying to move: if it shows clear signs that it’s been maintained properly, chances are it’s a good deal for you.

Don’t buy cars that have switched several pairs of hands before it got to you, because it’s probably been through some stuff that you will end up paying for, eventually, Leno says.

On the same note, you should always check the vehicle’s history report. “You always want to get a Carfax report,” Leno says. “These are people who know these cars, who check serial numbers and tell you what you’ve bought.”

For $40 and the car’s VIN, you get a full history of the car, including repair and service information, reported accidents and vehicle registration. This way, you will know exactly what you’re paying for.

Last but not least, Leno says all used car buyers should look for faults and negotiate. Personally, he doesn’t do the latter because he sees buying collectible cars as investing in art, and he doesn’t want to negotiate when he’s trading art.

But to anyone else, he says this: “Find as many faults as you can, faults that hopefully don’t include a huge financial outlay to correct. Minor body damage, things of that nature.” These will help you get a better price, while also not affecting the overall value of the vehicle.

In the same video, Leno recalls the time he bought his wife a Chevrolet Vega for $150 and a piece of it fell off as she went round the curb. The Vega was short lived due to a wide range of problems, but the moral of the story is: buy a very cheap car and this is exactly what you get, a cheap and bad car.

Jay Leno: What to look for when buying a used car from CNBC.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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