Buying a used car is almost like a treasure hunt because there are some amazing deals out there if you are willing to look thoroughly. Of course, with these great deals also come some greater risks. With the internet at your disposal, you have a great shopping tool that gives you a good chance of finding some low prices in a car that fits all your needs and provides the driving experience you’re hoping for. Here is a guide to help you avoid the common pitfalls of used car buying.
Determine what you can afford
There are two ways to buy a used car, and those are paying with cash or taking out a car loan. Remember that the price of the car is not the only cost involved. There are also registration fees, taxes and various other expenses. You should also have savings set aside for mechanical failures that are common when buying used vehicles.
Choosing a vehicle
There are so many to choose from that it’s easy to make a bad decision. First, think about the primary purpose of the vehicle. Is it for weekend drives with the top down, or is it a daily commuter vehicle? Will you be hauling things around frequently or driving around on unpaved roads regularly? Take all these things into consideration before you start looking at specific models.
When buying a used car, it’s usually best to go with ones that tend to have a good reliability track record over several years of ownership. Also, some cars that have a cheap sticker price have a higher cost of ownership for maintenance and gas.
Know car values
When you have some models in mind, you should have a good idea of their value when looking at listings and prices. Use a tool such as Kelley Blue Book to determine the value of a car according to make, model, year and mileage. You can use this information as a bargaining tool with the salesperson.
Vehicle history and condition
Buying a used car is a risk because you don’t know where it’s been and what kind of driver has been putting it through its paces. At least you can look at a history report such as Carfax to find out any obvious maintenance issues with the vehicle. The best information you can probably get is from test driving the vehicle. The current drivability is more important than past problems.
If the car drives well and the price is reasonable, you should be ready to make a deal. This is when you use your judgment about the person whom you’re dealing with. If they give you a story about an old person who rarely ever drove it, you’re probably dealing with a scammer. Buying a used car can be a rewarding experience that saves a lot of money if you do thorough planning and research and you’re able to deal with some unexpected repairs.