TULSA - Having a vehicle checked closely is only one step when you're considering buying a used car.
Knowing how to read the title is imperative so you can spot red flags that indicate you may be buying trouble.
Kenneth Whitehead is the Deputy Director of Oklahoma's Used Motor Vehicle and Parts Commission .
Click on the video toward the top left corner of your screen to watch Whitehead walk you through what to look for on documents and what to do before buying any vehicle.
This tutorial on reading paperwork and cross-checking records lets you be certain the used vehicle you're buying is what it appears to be.
Whitehead explains why it is so important to research prior to the sale.
"Our agency, we regulate licensed dealers, we can't assist you with an individual sale you have to avail yourself to the court system," he says.
Since 1992 vehicle titles in Oklahoma have been color coded so it's important to know the differences.
Whitehead says, "You should absolutely make sure the person selling you the vehicle is the owner of the vehicle. That's what a title does, ask to see the title. If the title is not in the individual's name, he's not the legal owner of that vehicle. If it's a green title this is normally just simply a used car. An orange title means rebuilt after it's been totaled. A red title means it's been heavily damaged and carries a salvage title so it's not street legal. It's unsafe for your family."
The tags are another important clue.
Whitehead says, "If you're physically looking at the vehicle look at the tag. If the tag is expired there's probably taxes due on it because they didn't pay it, bring it up to date and pay their taxes on it."
Since used cars are sold "as is" in Oklahoma it is up to the buyer to lock down all the details before paying up.
If the seller doesn't want your own mechanic to inspect the vehicle or run a CarFax.com report on it just walk away.
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