When buying a used car, there are going to be a few things that you will want to keep in mind. After all, this will be an investment and most likely your main source of transportation, so you want to make sure you are making the right decision. Here are 5 tips to get you ahead of the game when purchasing a used car:
1. Do Your Research When Buying a Used Car
This is one of the most important things you will need to do when in the market for a used car. Researching the type of car you want will let you know what the value is, what options you can get, what recalls or repairs you can expect, and what the overall review is of the car. Knowing these things ahead of time can give you a checklist of things to check out when you go to look at a car in person. This can save you a lot of time and money in the future, so make sure to be as thorough as possible.
2. Know Your Budget
When shopping for a used car, it can be very tempting to finance more than you can afford, or even more than the car is worth. Seeing the car you want with all of the options can easily steer you off your budget path, so it is vital that you know how much you can afford. Setting a budget will allow you to make sure you can afford the monthly payments while making sure you do not spend over what the car is worth.
3. Find Reviews On Dealerships
Once you start looking at cars, you are most likely going to end up on some dealership websites. Dealerships can be intimidating for those who have never visited one. A way to find out what used car dealership is going to be best for you is by finding reviews on the dealership online. From BBB to Facebook, online reviews for businesses can be found just about anywhere. Looking at the reviews of a dealership will give you real world insights on how other people’s experiences have gone with the dealership.
4. Take A Car-Savvy Friend With You
If you have a friend who knows even a little bit more about cars than you, ask them to go with you when looking at a used car. Chances are, they may be able to help identify any hidden problems or future problems that may occur, as well as offer useful advice. They can look at things like paint condition, drive-ability, tire condition, and other common areas to help you negotiate a better price or avoid buying a car that has major problems.
5. Ask for A Car-Fax
Lastly, with any used car purchase, you are going to want to ask for a Car-Fax. A Car-Fax is a document that has the vehicle’s full history. This can include scheduled maintenance, recall fixes, warranty claims, and accident reports. A Car-Fax will help shed light on the car’s history and let you know if there are any concerning details you may not be able to see with your own eyes. A Car-Fax will not show accidents that went unreported, DIY repairs, or DIY maintenance jobs done by previous owners, so keep that in mind.
What Questions Should I Ask When Buying A Used Car?
So now that you have your research done and are ready to go to the dealership, you need to know what questions to ask the salesperson. Asking the right questions can give you better insights and possibly a better price on the car.
“What Are the Pros/Cons Of The Car?”
After you have found a car that you would like to get some more information on, it is time to start asking the salesperson some questions. You can start off with generic questions such as “what are the pros and cons of this car?” What you will want to find out here is what are this car’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, the car may have great paint and new tires, but the interior has some stains, and the suspension could use some repairs. Try to get as much information as possible so you can find out what you may have to repair in the future. This will allow you to easily compare other vehicles on your list when in the process of buying a used car.
“Has the Car Ever Been In An Accident?”
While this is usually covered in the Car-Fax, sometimes accidents are not reported and never make it to the vehicle report. If a dealership knows that it was in an accident and it is not on the Car-Fax, they are obligated to let you know when asking about the car. While some minor accidents such as a fender bender can be repaired with no long-lasting effect, larger accidents that cause structural damage can cause major problems down the road.
“Are There Any Issues with The Car?”
The answer to this question should be revealed in the pros/cons list, but it is always a good idea to reiterate this one. If the car has any issues, you can usually negotiate a lower price, or have it fixed by the dealership at no additional cost of the asking price. Common issues include old tires, drive-ability issues, and other problems that can easily be fixed without major repairs. Ideally, you will want to have the dealership fix these issues if possible so you will not have to worry about them after you have purchased the car.
“What Benefits Do I Get with This Purchase?”
Don’t be afraid to ask for more than they are offering with the car. If a dealership is not willing to negotiate on the price, they can negotiate on services or accessories. Many dealerships will use perks such as a year of an extended warranty, free oil changes, or free tire rotations to help sweeten the deal. You will want to reach for the sky on this one so that you can negotiate down if you need to.
“Is This the Lowest That You Will Go?”
Lastly, you will want to try to negotiate on price. While most dealerships are not budging on prices, it is still worth a shot to ask. If you have done your research on the car’s value and know what repairs may need to be done on a certain vehicle you are looking at, you will have more ground to stand on when making your negotiation. If you are wanting to offer them a certain price, always shoot lower than you expect so that you have more wiggle room to negotiate.
Do I Need to Get An Extended Warranty With My Used Car?
One of the most popular questions that arises when purchasing a used car is whether or not to buy an extended warranty. Extended warranties can be purchased from car manufacturer dealerships or through a third party. Car manufacturer extended warranties are going to offer great perks including repairs done by licensed technicians for your specific vehicle, but you may be forced to take your car to that specific chain of dealerships. For example, if you bought an Audi and got an extended warranty through Audi, you will have to take it to an Audi dealership for any warranty work. Many of these warranties include towing to your nearest dealership.
With a third party extended warranty, you will have a little more freedom on where you take your car plus you will get more perks. Third party extended warranties allow for you to take your vehicle to any licensed mechanic to make the necessary repairs. This is perfect for those who may not live near a dealership. Also, you will get perks such as 24/7 roadside assistance, trip interruption, and many more great benefits.
The choice is yours when it comes to purchasing an extended warranty. With used cars already having miles on them and repairs being inevitable in the future, it is always a good idea to have an extended warranty if you do not plan on making the repairs yourself.
What Are My Financing Options for Buying A Used Car?
When purchasing a new car, you may be spending more than you can afford to pay in cash, which is why car financing is so popular. Let’s take a look at a few different financing options you have when purchasing a used car.
Paying In Cash
To start off, you will always have the option to pay for a used car in cash. This is the ideal way to purchase a used car as you will usually get a better deal, and you will not have to pay interest on a loan. However, many people cannot drop thousands of dollars all at once on a used car, so this is usually not an option for everyone.
Making Payments at The Dealership
Buy-Here Pay-Here dealerships are quite common for those who are trying to rebuild their credit. These dealerships have in-house financing that allow you to make payments directly to them, usually with higher interest rates. These can be great for those who do not mind stopping by the dealership every month to pay on their car or even mailing in a money order each month.
Lastly, and the most popular choice, is using a car loan for buying a used car. Car loans are usually done by banks, credit unions, or by larger dealerships. These loans are configured by the finance department and can be adjusted to help fit your monthly budget. You can pay in person at the bank or online if your financial institution allows for online payments.
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