However, after you’ve decided that your next vehicle will be a used one, it’s vital that you take the proper steps to make sure that your purchase is worthwhile.
If you’re not sure where to begin your investigation, rest easy – here’s what you should know about buying a used car:
Do Your Research
Just as you wouldn’t buy a house without first investigating the neighbourhood or reviewing the prices of nearby houses for sale, it’s imperative that, before making your used car purchase, you do the proper research.
Narrow down your list of potential car models, then visit automotive websites, forums, and review websites to find out their specifications, strong points, and weaknesses. What’s more, visiting online car forums is a great way to find out the experiences that other drivers have had with the specific models that you have in mind. When browsing reviews and forums, look for information such as typical repairs, costs, and reliability concerns.
Spread the Word
Between your researching and investigating, don’t forget to reach for a resource that’s much closer to home: word of mouth. Let your friends, family, and co-workers know that you are in the process of researching a new car purchase, and invite them to contact you if they happen to have a friend or co-worker that’s selling.
Set Your Limits
When researching potential new car purchases, it’s vital to recognize and respect your personal limits – both from a budgetary, and pragmatic, standpoint.
This means setting a budget for your purchase, and sticking to it. It also means being realistic in your expectations, and distinguishing needs from wants. What’s more, if you’re planning to trade in your current vehicle, you must also set realistic expectations for its value. If your current vehicle isn’t exactly a recent model, then the dealer to which you are trading will most likely be wholesaling it. In this case, keep in mind that the payment you will receive will be based on wholesale value, and this will not provide as much of a payout as would selling your car directly to a buyer.
Check Its History
Another way to make sure that your used car purchase is a worthwhile one is to check car history websites such as AutoCheck, CarFax, and Carproof.
However, keep in mind that – although these sites are an invaluable resource for checking a used car’s history – if a previous owner chose to make a collision repair without going through their insurance provider, these sites may not disclose those specific repairs.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
If there’s one thing that every use car buyer should not be afraid of, it’s a good negotiation!
Don’t be afraid to negotiate – this is your chance to drive a hard bargain, and get the most value for your money.
Take a Closer Look at Your Would-Be Car
Home buyers know the importance of conducting a thorough home inspection – take the same approach to your would-be vehicle, and take a closer look at the entire car – from windows to tires.
Be thorough with your inspection: check for shattered glass under seats, and check mufflers and door seals for paint overspray, as these are signs of a collision repair.
Check for a mildew smell, as this could indicate a water leak. If the warning lamps are lit, pricey engine repairs may be in order. Check the transmission fluid – if it’s any darker than reddish brown, or bright red, you may have an issue on your hands.
Take it For a Test Drive
Just like you wouldn’t buy a house without researching the neighbourhood or taking a tour of every room, you shouldn’t buy a used car without taking it for a test drive first. Take this opportunity to get a feel for the vehicle, its condition, and how it drives.
If your main focus is highway driving, you’ll want to test the car’s speed – if you often drive through rugged terrain, test drive it through a similar terrain so that you can see how it performs.
Whether you’re purchasing a used car or a new car, don’t neglect the insurance side of things – protect your vehicle, and everyone in it, with the right auto insurance that’s suited to your unique needs. Get a quote today – it’s only a few clicks away.