Originally Posted by THE TECH
In the end, there's no real way to know whether a car has been taken care of or beat on. Carfax and dealer records only tell you so much. There's no way to know if the car has been tracked its whole life or lived in a garage and never driven.
Getting to know the previous owner is the best bet. I picked up my car from a forum member, and it was very easy to tell how anal he was about keeping the car clean and maintained.
This is the downside of buying used from a dealer. You have no way of knowing who had the car before you and their goal is to make money...