6 Essential Tips For Buying A Used Car
Buying a used car can be a great way to get an excellent vehicle while saving some money. Doing so, however, is not always that easy. You’ll want to put in some serious work to ensure that the used car you buy actually fits all of your needs. Below are six essential tips you must follow for buying a used car.
Know Your Budget
The most important aspect of buying a used car is figuring out exactly what you want to spend. It’s always a good idea to start with a number rather than a payment – the actual cost of the car is what you’re going to end up spending even if stretching out the payments makes that number seem more affordable.
Take a look at your budget and try to figure out not just what you can afford each month, but how much you’re going to have to pay in terms of maintenance and fuel costs. That number plus the monthly payment amount will help you to set a reasonable budget.
Research Your Needs
Once you know what you can realistically spend, try to take some time looking at what you actually need in a vehicle. Prioritize the various factors that are important to you before you start looking so that you don’t get swayed by a few shiny new extras.
Whether you’re looking for size, miles per gallon, or even a specific model, knowing exactly what you need is the best way to ensure that your search is as efficient as possible.
Get a History Report
One of the best parts about buying from a larger dealer is that you’ll generally get access to a vehicle history report. This report will show you everything that’s happened to the vehicle in its history, ranging from regular maintenance to accidents. If you’re buying from a smaller dealer or from a private seller, though, you might need to get the history report yourself.
If you don’t want to pay for the report, you should at least look into using a VIN decoder (carvertical.com/vin-decoder is a reliable option) to ensure the claims about the vehicle match with its actual manufacturing status. Having even a bit extra data can be very helpful.
Test Drive It
Never buy a vehicle without a test drive. This is your best chance to not only determine if the car actually drives as advertised, but a great way to determine how you feel about buying the car. When you’re out driving, make sure to test out the following:
- Electrical components (windows, lights, etc)
- Accessories (radio, sunroof, etc)
Always insist on driving the car yourself during the test drive – if the other party won’t let you drive, that’s a sure warning sign.
Get it Checked Out
Once your test-drive is over, make sure that you take the car to an independent mechanic to have it checked out. While having a good motor vehicle history report will help with the process, you need to ensure that everything is aboveboard.
Getting a full inspection will not only give you a good idea of what’s going on with the vehicle, but it will give you a good idea of how honest the seller is really being about the car. If the person selling the vehicle isn’t willing to let you have the car inspected, that’s a sure sign that something is wrong.
Finally, ensure that you don’t pay more than the car is worth. Take a moment to not only look at things like the Blue Book value of the vehicle but the price at which others are buying the car both online and in person. You need to factor costs like upkeep and repairs into any used vehicle purchase, so do your best to make sure that you’re getting a price that will actually end up fitting the budget you created at the beginning of this process.
These tips will help you to figure out if a given used vehicle is actually the best fit for your needs. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal or to negotiate – doing so may be the best way to ensure that you get the right used car.