Every now and then your going to need a new set of wheels or like me you might be considering buying a used car. As a rule of thumb I have always found that buyers get more for their money when they buy used. A pre-owned or used car carries a lower price tag than similar newer models (depending on age and use) so you can get more car for less and take less of a beating on the new car devaluing so fast. Consider a few important things before you buy a used car so you get more car for your money;
Price Each Car Right
Since you are buying used the first thing you need to consider is the price. Is it low enough to justify buying a used car and are you saving enough money? Is the car priced higher because of add-ons, custom parts, or superficial additions like a new paint job, spoiler or stereo? Used cars that have racing brakes and wheels, or off-road packages often have an inflated price tag, don’t pay more for these options if you don’t need them and your not planning to either race or take the vehicle off-road! Work out your budget before you find the car and try to stick with it. If you have a problem getting financed, shop for buy here pay here vehicles. In-house financing at the dealerships is often more accommodating to bad-credit buyers as their willing to go further to close the sale.
One trick I often try to remember is to make a friend in a car yard and offer them a small bribe to check the book value of a used car. Car yards and dealers often work off a book of pricing to evaluate a cars worth based on Mileage, Age, Model, Brand. Getting an idea of what the car is worth puts the power of negotiation into your hands.
Guarantee Your Purchase Lasts
Used cars aren’t without problems, although cars are more reliable today. Try to find a used car with a warranty, either part of the original factory warranty, or one offered by the dealer. Most dealers give their cars a 30-day warranty, which is fine but it won’t protect you for long. Many factor warranties last for around 36,000 miles or three years, whichever comes first. Check your vehicle mileage and year to see if it is still under factory warranty. Consider getting an extended parts warranty to protect the engine, power train or the entire vehicle. Its pointless saving money on the short term to spend it on maintenance in the long term.
Check Your Car’s History
Check a car’s history for free by getting a free VIN check from the NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau). It tells you if the car was stolen or flooded. Use this free report to screen vehicles before you buy a paid car report for ones you settle on.
Car reports are more comprehensive. They list accidents, major repairs, even oil changes. Check it all to get a clear picture of the car’s history. Order unlimited car reports and you can download as many as you like for 30 days, for one price. You can check each car as you shop without spending money each time.
Recall This Important Fact
Check pending recalls from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to make sure your vehicle is not up for recall. Automotive blogs and news sites often run stories about pending recalls. Sometimes dealers may sell a potential recall vehicle at lower prices to lure in unsuspecting car shoppers. Don’t be fooled; always do your research BEFORE you visit a car yard. You did plan out what your vehicle your trying to buy with a little bit of homework didn’t you?
Make it Final
Consider how the interior fits your driving style, and lifestyle. Is there enough trunk space for groceries? Is it comfortable to drive? Finally, ask yourself how maintenance and gas expenses will impact your budget. How long do you plan to keep this vehicle and are you going to be happy with this car?
Take time to think about everything and you’ll be happy with your used car. What do you look for in a used car? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
***Photos thanks to Rockershirt & wbaiv***