Buying a Used Car

Places to Look

  • The Michigan Daily - Campus newspaper. Check the classifieds.
  • - Search the inventory of car dealers in the Detroit area.
  • MLive - Online newspaper covering the state of Michigan.
  • University Kiosks - Large pillars covered with signs and various posters/announcements.
  • The Trader Online - A listing of used cars for sale by private owners and dealers. Print copies are available at many drugstores or gas stations.
  • CarMax - The United States' largest used-car retailer.
  • Used Car Dealerships - Costs might be higher if you purchase your car through a dealer.

Before You Purchase a Used Car

It is advisable to hire a mechanic to inspect a car you are considering purchasing. Many local repair shops or service stations will inspect the vehicle for a fee. Check in the yellow pages under “Auto Repair” for a listing of shops. When calling, make sure that the shop will check all the vital systems (brakes, belts, steering, oil, cooling system, exhaust, shocks, tires) and make sure they will test drive the vehicle. Below are some local service stations that perform diagnostic inspections. Please remember that the U-M International Center cannot guarantee the quality of any specific mechanic.

Near Central Campus

CITGO Station (A2 Auto Center)

1500 E. Stadium
Tel: 734.332.8617
(5 minutes from Central Campus)
Cost in 2014 = $59 for U-M students

Near North Campus

Plymouth-Broadway Shell Station

1800 Plymouth Rd., at Broadway & Plymouth Rd.
Tel: 734.662.2444
Cost in 2014 = $50 for U-M students

You should call in advance to schedule an appointment.

Responsibilities & Costs

Along with owning a car comes certain responsibilities and costs, such as paying for:

  • Michigan Driver's License: Visit the U-M International Center's page on How to Get a Driver's License or Michigan Secretary of State for more information
  • Auto Insurance (required)
  • License Plates and Tax (required)
  • City parking fees and University parking meter fees
  • General preventive maintenance expenses for your car
  • Safety seats for children under the age of four

You can find some useful information about mechanics and cars at Car Talk.

You can find useful information about a specific car's history at Car Fax.