Buying a used car is not a very easy process in most cases. What makes buying a used car difficult is that you can have the same make and model, but each used car is different. They may have the same mileage, but their car history, how the owner treated it, and wear and tear can all affect it. In order to make sure that you buy a used car that is right for you, follow these 5 tips:
Tip #1 – Do Your Research Before You Physically Shop
With the internet, there's no excuse to NOT do any research before you physically go to a used car dealership. Besides checking out the newspaper classifieds for used car offers, you can visit websites such as Cars.com, CarsDirect.com, and Edmunds.com for thousands of used cars. That'll give you access to the biggest selection of used cars, as you can even search by your own area. Of course, even if you buy it from another state, they will work with you in many cases to arrange for it to be transported right to your door.
Tip #2 – Research Its History
This is absolutely vital. You need to make sure that you have full access to a history report of the used car. No matter what you are told by the current owner or the person at the used car dealership, you want proof. Even if the car looks and rides like it's in tip-top shape, that's not good enough. Make sure to get its VIN number and to visit a credible site such as AutoCheck.com or Carfax.com to obtain a history report. If there's any cost involved, you can sometimes negotiate it to where the dealership or the owner pays for it.
Tip #3 – Understand Your Financing Options
If you need financing to purchase the used car, first make sure that your credit is up to snuff. If it's not, try and improve it first to get a better APR. Keep in mind that the vast majority of banks only provide used car loans for a car that is not older than 5 years. In many cases, a bank will charge a higher APR for a used car loan that they would for a new car loan. Try and accumulate as much cash as possible in order to take the lowest possible loan that you can afford.
Tip #4 – Negotiate and Complete the Purchase
Never settle for the listed or offered price for a used car. Don't be afraid to engage in a little bit of old-fashioned negotiating. If you have spotted anything negative in the vehicle's car history report, use that as leverage when you negotiate to bring the price down a bit. Don't be afraid to walk away either, as that helps you come across as not being desperate.
Once you agree on a price, make sure to pay by check. Don't pay with actual physical cash, as that might make it more difficult for you to get some of your money back if there turns out to be a problem. Make sure that everything is official and that the title of the vehicle is transferred to your name. Be careful that there isn't a lease that the seller still owes money to.
Tip #5 – Make Sure to Obtain a Warranty
The last and final tip is to make sure to obtain an extended warranty, particularly if the auto manufacturer's warranty doesn't cover the car anymore. Shop around online, such as at carchex.com, to find reasonably priced extended warranty options. You don't want to be fully responsible for any repair costs, and with a used car, you need to have as much protection as possible!
There are great deals out there for quality used cars. Follow the above tips if you want to purchase one and you'll be more likely to find the right used car for you!
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.