Buying a new car is an option a lot of people can’t afford to choose. Since most cars depreciate around 40% in their first year, there is an increasing number of buyers looking for used cars. It may a stressful and complicated journey when buying a car. However, there are things you should do when buying a used vehicle that will not only give you peace of mind but can also save you a lot of money in the long run.
There are several lists on the internet that will give you a hint on what things to check when buying used cars. Here we will try to sum up some of the most important points you need to cover in order to buy safely and without any remorse. First, you should take a deep breath and make friends with the idea that the whole process will take same time. This is an important decision that you shouldn’t make overnight. A lot of things can go wrong and make you spend much more than your budget allows.
Set a Budget
Define a cost range for the vehicle you want. To find this out, research, either online or at auctions and dealers, how low or high the price could get. Compare it to the budget you planned for the purchase. When you know your cost range, nobody will be able to overprice the car. You will be aware of what the car is actually worth and will not get overexcited. That will be a time and money saver for sure.
Check the Condition of the Car
Check the car inside out, even if you’re not a professional mechanic. You should look for noticeable damage of any kind that may cause future trouble or extra costs not included in your budget. Also, noticeable damaged that was not included in the description or that you were not told about by the seller may play to your benefit in a potential price negotiation.
Go for a test drive. Always ask to take the car for a ride, and if possible, drive it to a local mechanic so they can take a look at it. Once you get to drive the vehicle, you should get a pretty good idea of whether something is going wrong. Listen for any sounds that may tell you something the seller is not. Taking it to a mechanic would definitely be the best idea. A professional will tell you exactly what the engine and running gear conditions are. This will help you decide whether the car is worth the money the seller is asking for it.
If something is wrong, don’t just ditch the opportunity. Ask for the value of the repair and see if you can play with it while negotiating the price or even pay it with what is left of your budget after paying for the car.
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Do Your Research
Research the car online, not only at dealers, but at general forums that talk about that particular make and model. These sites are usually full of reviews about the vehicle, and present dedicated sections for each model’s problems, pros and cons. You will know if the car has any problems or undesirable factors that you should know in advance. Surprises in this kind of purchase are usually not pleasant and put the buyer in the position of overspending.
Make yourself acquainted with the car’s history and try to learn as much as you can about it. Search for things like the mileage and how many owners it has had. Also search for how many times it has been taken into service and what was done in service. Don’t forget to check if any major parts of the engine or drivetrain were replaced and the reason why this happened, etc.
Ask before buying a car if it is covered by a warranty, and for how long it will be covered. Usually, dealers give a twelve-month warranty on the cars they sell. But there are exceptions; so find out what those exceptions are. Needless to say, you won’t have any warranty if you are buying from a private seller.
Finally, if everything seems to work fine and be in place, check the car’s paperwork. Make sure that when you make the payment you will get the titles corresponding to the vehicle. Also make sure that the information in the titles (engine serial number, chassis number, plates numbers, etc.) are real and correct. You should compare it to the physical numbers that appear printed on the vehicle. That would be the last step to avoid trouble or scams.
Make sure that what you are buying is what you want and that you are aware of the condition you are buying it in. Otherwise, all you will get is stress and the remorse of having bought something you didn’t really want.