While buying a car from a buy here pay here dealership can be a great experience, there are some things to know and do before going in.

First of all, as with any conventional dealership, ask if you can take a test drive. Also ask if you can have a mechanic look the vehicle over. Its important to know what you’re getting and avert any potential problems by learning as much as possible about the vehicle. Also, if possible, look up the vehicle’s history on CarFax.

Find out up front about the dealership’s late policy. Some of them can be rather harsh, so better to know this up front and plan around it, rather than to get any unpleasant surprises. Assume your vehicle has an electronic tracking device (or even an ignition shutdown device), so it will be easy for the dealership to repossess after a late payment.

Make sure the dealership reports to the credit bureaus. Many buy here pay here dealerships report your payments to the credit bureau as a way of helping you to repair your credit. This can be a great way to rebuild your credit history.

Finally, remember that often what happens at a buy here pay here dealership is different from a regular dealership in the sense that you don’t select a vehicle and discuss financing- instead you discuss financing and then select a vehicle based on what the dealer thinks you will be able to keep up payments on. This is why its so important to first view a copy of your credit history, so you’re not at a disadvantage.