There are many benefits that come from buying used cars over new cars. However, as with purchasing anything used, there are a few things that you should keep in mind throughout the process. So, before you head to the auto dealership, here are a few tips to help you navigate from start to finish.
Buying A Used Car.
- Budget. One of the most important things to figure out, before you head to the auto lot, is your budget. When it comes to buying a car, new or used, there are 2 ways to pay: cash or loan. If you have enough cash saved away buying is easy if you can find a vehicle in your price range; however, many people opt to take out a loan and pay it off in monthly installments. While a loan may give you the option to purchase a more expensive car, keep in mind that depending on various factors, monthly payments can quickly reach a couple hundred dollars each month; in addition to the initial down payment. Know your monthly budget before you sign any loan agreements.
- Find the right car. Don’t head to the auto dealer without knowing what kind of car you’re after. If you have a family know how many seats you’ll need, in addition to cargo space and advanced safety features. If you’re a one man band who wants a killer sound system, look for cars that prioritize music capabilities. One of the easiest ways to end up leaving unsatisfied is by settling for something, without knowing exactly what you should be looking for.
- Reliability. It’s one thing for a car to look good, but looks can mean nothing if it can’t stand the test of time. Consumer reports consolidates all repair reports from owners and rates used cars. In addition to overall reliability, another issue to research is the cost of ownership. This cost is inclusive of insurance, repairs, and general maintenance, as well as depreciation. While a car may not break the bank at the point of purchase, certain vehicles will end up costing more over all, simply due to these factors. If you have a make and model in mind, be sure to research it thoroughly to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
- Locate reputable auto dealerships. When you know what type of car you’re after, it’s time to locate a dealership. When shopping for a used car it’s a good idea to check which locations offer certified used cars. These vehicles are checked over by mechanics and can even feature warranties through the dealership. Having this warranty to fall back on, plus the green light from a certified mechanic, can make a lot of difference once you drive off the lot. And, as someone who’s bought a used car, as is and without warranty, only to have the check engine light come on not even a week later, trust me when I say the certification is something to look for!
- Vehicle history. Once you’ve located a vehicle you like don’t throw down your money just yet. Before you do anything make sure to ask for the cars complete history report. A couple things you can learn from this are:
- Has the car been in any accidents where an insurance company has listed it as totaled, despite it still being drivable? If it is issued as a ‘salvage title’ it is something you may want to avoid.
- Is the odometer reading accurate? Some people try to wind it back to make it seem like it has less mileage than it really does.
- How many owners has it had? The history report will be able to tell you.
There are just a few of the many issues to be on the lookout for.
When looking to purchase a used vehicle, it’s best to do some research beforehand. Know what you’re after, how much you want to spend, and always learn the history of the vehicle before you sign anything. Additionally, never be afraid to shop around for the perfect car!