Soon-to-be car owners are plagued with the dilemma of choosing between new or used vehicles. Used cars provide unique benefits to buyers, including saving money on insurance, registration, taxes, etc. Statista data estimates that about 40.8 million used light vehicles changed hands in the US in 2019. Choosing the right used vehicle can be challenging, necessitating that you find helpful guiding tips. So, if you’d like to discover more about buying used cars the right way, then consider the following points.
Decide on a budget
Budgets are the leading guide for any financial planning, including buying your used car. Therefore, sort out the financial details of your purchase before making your move. You will either pay cash or take a loan to finance the deal, so you should budget based on your approach. If you are using your finances, experts advise that you don’t spend all your savings. Also, set aside funds for insurance, registration, and possible future repairs. If you are taking out a loan to fund your purchase, ensure that your car payment doesn’t exceed 20% of your take-home pay. You should also budget for maintenance, new tires, and some future repairs that your vehicle may require.
Choose the right car
Another essential step towards buying your used car is deciding on a vehicle you deem perfect for your needs. For this, consider factors like your lifestyle, budget, and sense of style to make the right choice. These factors narrow your options, making it easier to choose the best option. For example, it would be more practical to select a vehicle with enough legroom and cargo space if you have a family. Must-have features must also influence your final choice, so outline your list of preferred features to guide your decision. Then, look for models with similar features using tools like Car Finder to know your available options. This way, you can decide on three cars that meet your needs and budgets and begin your research for more details.
Check for prices, reliability, and ownership costs
Used cars differ from vehicle to vehicle based on mileage, wear and tear, etc. Nevertheless, a great guiding principle to making a choice is researching models with a proven dependability history. Sites like Consumer Reports are a great repository of maintenance reports and other crucial information like total ownership costs on used vehicle models, so you can depend on these sites for estimates of these expenses. You can also research the average prices that people pay for the models you have decided on to know which one will provide the best value for money.
Identify great used cars for sale
Many established websites like Craigslist and CarMax list several used cars for sale, so you can look through these to guide your choice. Many car dealerships post their vehicles online on these sites, and you can filter your search based on several factors including features, miles on the car’s odometer, features, and price. You can also choose to go to a great local dealer near you for a more hands-on car buying experience. For this, you will need to visit a trusted dealership that can provide your preferred vehicle choice, be it a Jeep or an SUV. Also, a dealership with a massive inventory and a proven track record of transparency and reliability, such as Norristown CDJR, is essential to finding your dream used vehicle, so keep this in mind when selecting who to purchase your car from.
Check the vehicle report history
Many experts advise that you get a vehicle history report before committing to a purchase unless you are buying from a close friend or relative. Consequently, run a vehicle history report on your preferred choice before you even step out to take a look at it. AutoCheck and Carfax are great sources of vehicle report histories that you can turn to for more information about your chosen car. Experts recommend examining vehicle reports for various reasons. Some shady dealerships spin the odometer back to increase the vehicle’s selling price, which these reports will quickly expose. You can also discover whether the car has a salvage title to avoid buying cars declared total losses by insurance companies.
Contact the car seller
Before you run to see your prospective car, call the seller first to establish a relationship and verify any necessary information concerning the vehicle. The FBI warns buyers that many criminals frequently post fraudulent online classifieds advertising vehicles that aren’t really for sale and have never been their possession. These criminals then sell the cars at discounted prices, citing reasons like military deployment. As such, always ask private-party sellers their motivation for selling the vehicle, how they set the asking price, if any service records are available, and whether you can have the car inspected by your mechanic. Transparent salespeople would be more than happy to answer your questions, after which you must set up an appointment to test-drive the car.
Never skip test driving
Forbes reports that 16% of buyers neglect test driving their vehicles before purchasing, which is worrying given how essential test drives are to picking a used car. Test drives are your sure way of knowing that your car is the right make and model for you. Additionally, a test drive is your best assessment of the car’s current condition. Consequently, never pass on a test drive because it is your one good chance to make an excellent assessment of the vehicle before buying. Experts recommend that you choose a driving route with curves, elevation, and stretches to observe how the car performs in different areas. While driving, pay attention to visibility, brakes, ergonomics, mechanical condition, acceleration, and various other factors to ensure that you choose a great vehicle.
Inspection and negotiation
After your test drive, consider having your mechanic certify the car also, as a professional second opinion is vital to making or unmaking a used car deal. CPO cars have already been inspected, so there will be little need for your mechanic to re-examine it. After the inspection, make an opening offer that is less than your maximum price. Ensure that your offer is around the average market price and be ready to haggle a little over the car’s price if need be. Also, ask specifically if any extra fees are included in the deal, as some dealers sneak in fees to rescue any profits lost during negotiation, so keep this in mind when closing the deal.