Tips for buying a used car
Having a reliable vehicle isn’t just a luxury – it’s a necessity. You have to make it to work on time, get yourself to the store, and anywhere else you need to go. Those things can be really difficult to accomplish when you don’t have a working car.
When your current vehicle won’t run or starts costing you more than what it’s worth, it’s time to think about replacing it. Unless you have some savings or extra cash sitting around, replacing it with a brand new car isn’t practical. A used car is usually much more realistic for most people.
But, used cars can have a reputation for being “lemons.” To avoid getting yourself into another unreliable vehicle, you’ll need to know what to look for when you’re browsing used car lots. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re in the market for a new used car
1. Do LOTS of research
When we say do lots of research, we mean lots. When you’re in the market for a new car, you’re already browsing dealer’s sites and car seller markets online. This is a great start. But, you can be easily distracted by the cars you find most visually appealing. Start by researching the safest and most reliable used cars on sites like Consumer Reports. This will help you stay objective. Choosing the model first means you’re choosing the features, not the body style.
2. Make a budget, and stick to it
You should have number in mind before you visit a dealership. Even before your first internet search, decide on a firm budget. This should be a number you absolutely cannot go over, no matter how badly you want all the bells and whistles. If you’re planning on financing your purchase, you may think there’s no harm in taking a bigger loan. You may not see the effects right away, but you will be putting more strain on your bank account. If you already decided on the features you really need, you can probably do without the heated seats and satellite radio. Your bank account will thank you
3. Shop with your head, not your heart
When you’re in the market for a new car, the most important thing you can do it stay realistic and objective. Keep yourself focused on the end goal and the things you need in a new car. Don’t compromise – if you need a four-wheel drive vehicle, spend the extra money to get one. What you don’t want to do is shop with your heart. Falling in love with the looks of the car is bad news. You can end up overlooking flaws and issues, losing your investment
4. Selling? Find someone you can trust
The internet is an amazing place, and a great resource for car shopping. You find just about anything you need in an instant. When it comes to used car listings, you may find more bad than good. If you still need to unload your current vehicle, a search for “sell my car” will no doubt return thousands of results in your area. Find a buyer who is also a dealer. Even more importantly, make sure you’re getting a fair price for your current car. You’ll be able to tell right away if you want to sell and buy from them.
5. Don’t fall for it
No matter how much you trust the car dealership, their main job is to sell cars. They want to get you into a new vehicle, no matter what. This is not to say that all dealerships are pushy. In fact, most of them are more than fair. Just make sure the inspection and states of the car you want is really as it appears. Ask to see the history, accident reports, and most current maintenance. Plus, do a thorough check yourself.
No matter how much you want a new car, your decision should be based on necessity. The most important thing is that your new car keeps you and your family safe, and gets you where you need to be with no trouble. When it comes to a used car, stay smart and you’ll end up with a deal!