The more expensive something is, the more careful you need to be about buying it. If you’re looking for a car there are fundamentals to follow, whether it’s new or used. If you do it right, buying a secondhand car can be a great way to save money. You can still get a reliable vehicle, but you’ll need to be wise about it. In this article, we’ll provide you with some handy tips for buying a used car.
Use A Reliable Car Dealer
Car dealers are businesses that sell both new and used cars. Many of them have an online presence, which makes it easy for you to find the right vehicle. A key advantage of buying a used car from a dealer is that they’ll offer you a warranty on the vehicle. This means that if anything goes wrong with the car, you can take it back and they’ll fix it for free.
Dealers usually have a wide range of vehicles to choose from, so you can find the perfect car for your needs. They typically offer financing options, which can make buying a used car more affordable. The people who use the websites of trusted used car dealers can enter how much they can afford to spend monthly, in order to discover cars within their budget. They can also enter their deposit or trade-in amount and look for the best fixed-price models.
Take A Test Drive
Rather than just viewing a vehicle online, a test drive will give you a feel for how the car handles and drives. It’s also a good opportunity to check the condition of the car. Take a look at the bodywork and tire condition. If there are any signs of wear and tear, this could be an indication that the car hasn’t been well maintained. Start the engine and listen for any odd sounds. Also, make sure the engine heats up properly.
You should test all the features, making sure all the lights, wipers, and indicators are working. Also, check that the windows and mirrors are in good condition. When taking it for a spin, drive the car in different conditions (on the motorway, in town, and on country roads). This will give you a good idea of how the car performs in different situations.
Get A Vehicle History Report
A VHR contains detailed information about the car’s previous owners, any accidents or major damage that has occurred, and whether the car has been properly maintained. A VHR can prevent you from buying a “lemon” – and you may be able to negotiate a lower price if the car has some issues.
To get a VHR, you’ll need the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You can usually find the VIN on the dashboard, on the driver’s side door, or the car’s registration paperwork. Once you have the VIN, you can order a report from a company like CarFax or AutoCheck (or get one via your dealer). The fee will be worth every penny and could save you a lot of money and headaches later on.
Give The Car A Full Inspection
By doing this, you can decide whether or not it’s worth purchasing (or whether it’s overpriced). In terms of the exterior, check for dents, scratches, or other damage. Make sure all lights are working and look for rust or corrosion. As regards the interior, check for wear and tear on seats, carpets, and door panels. Make sure all controls (e.g. heater, wipers) are working properly and look for any signs of water damage.
Under the hood, you should check fluid levels and look for leaks. Also, inspect hoses and belts for wear and tear, and make sure the battery is in good condition. If you’re not good with cars, ask a mechanic to check it out before you decide.
Get A Loan Pre-Approval
This is basically a commitment from a bank or credit union to lend you a certain amount of money at a set interest rate. This way you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to spend on a car, knowing that you have the financing in place. Getting a loan pre-approval is fairly easy – you can do it online or in person at your bank or credit union. The process usually takes just a few minutes, and you’ll need to provide some basic information about yourself and your finances.
With a loan pre-approval in hand, you’re in a much stronger position when it comes to negotiating the price. The dealer will know that you’re serious about buying and that you have the money in place, so they may be more likely to give you a better deal. When you find a car that you like, the dealer will run a credit check to make sure that you’re still eligible for the loan. Once that’s done, you’re ready to negotiate.
Decide What You Want Or Need
If you do this before you start shopping for a used car, it’ll help you narrow your options and focus your search. Some practical considerations include:
● How many people do you need to be able to transport?
● What activities will you use it for (e.g., commuting, road trips, off-roading)?
● Do you have any special requirements (e.g., child safety seats, and a lot of cargo space)?
● What’s your budget?
● Do you have a preference for a particular make or model of car?
● What size do you need (e.g., compact, midsize, full-size)?
● What kind of fuel economy are you looking for?
● Are you looking for a manual or automatic transmission?
● Do you have a preferred body style (e.g., sedan, SUV, truck)?
● What features are you looking for (e.g., Bluetooth, navigation, sunroof)?
● Do you have any specific color preferences?
As you can see, there are plenty of things to think about before you buy a used car. If you get it wrong, you’ll make an expensive mistake. If you get it right you’ll have the right car at the right price and will enjoy it for many years to come.
Featured photo by Nima Sarram on Unsplash.