Purchasing a used vehicle is not exactly a walk in the park. Make your experience far less stressful by utilizing available resources and following these tips:
Decide what you’re willing to spend.
Before considering what used car you’d like to purchase, establish an amount you’re willing to spend and calculate your max. monthly payments. Remember to factor in sales and property taxes, title and registration fees and insurance costs.
Do your research.
Find the vehicle that’s right for you and fits your needs without breaking the bank. Try making a list of everything you’ll need your vehicle to do (ie., get good gas mileage, haul kids, etc.) and find vehicles from those requirements.
Find the car’s value.
Purchasing a certified pre-owned vehicle means the vehicle goes through a full check and is reconditioned. This also means excellent warranties and a very clean car. If you’re purchasing from a private party, get as much information as possible regarding ownership history, maintenance upkeep, mileage and any additional information on the history of the car.
Communicate with the seller.
If you’re buying from a private party, we recommend asking why they’re selling the vehicle. A big “red flag” is if they hesitate or are unwilling to allow you to take the vehicle to a private mechanic. Take a friend along to look at the car and keep in mind that purchasing from a private seller typically means “as is”.
Get an Autocheck Vehicle History Report
When it comes to buying a used car, there’s no such thing as too much research. Getting a detailed Autocheck Vehicle History Report will allow you to check the title and protect yourself from being cheated.
Assess the vehicle yourself.
Take your time and examine the car with a friend or family member. Look for signs of possible body repair, signs of repainting and signs of general misuse. Check the tires for wear and for signs of poor alignment.
Take it for a test drive.
This doesn’t mean a quick drive around the block to see how fast it goes. Pay close attention to the following:Engine noise, interior comfort, interior and exterior lights, steering vibration, brakes
If you have any doubts, take the car to a mechanic for a full evaluation. If any repairs are necessary, you can then factor this in when negotiating the price.
Negotiate for your best price.
Many used cars from a private party aren’t in perfect condition. Sellers will often add a couple hundred dollars as a “buffer” for negotiation purposes. As far as negotiating with a dealer- you never know until you ask!