Your guide to buying a good used car

If you are buying a used car in the near future, be sure to keep these important steps in mind to make sure you don't get any surprises with it.

If you find the car has been involved in an accident, that does not necessarily mean you should pass on the car.

Instead, run the car's vehicle identification number through a website like Carfax.

Those reports can usually tell you the extent of the damage and where the car was impacted.

But, it cannot tell you if the repair was done properly, which is why it's important to take a used car to a trustworthy mechanic before buying the car.

A third party inspection can cost about $100, but it is money well spent.

"Anybody who is selling a used car and doesn't want you to take it to an independent third party inspection, that is a red flag," said Emilie Voss from Carfax. "It is best practice to be able to take it to that inspection, and you should not feel uncomfortable about that. If they won't let you take it for that inspection, walk away from the sale."

There are also a couple of things to keep in mind.

The average used car has had at least two owners. If you can get the maintenance records, that's a good sign, and it's important to run the VIN number through a recall website to see if it has an open recall.

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