Everybody needs a car. I’m using the word “need” because cars are a necessity in America. It is always better to have a vehicle parked in the garage. If you have a car, your work becomes pretty easy and fast.
With the 2009 “Cash for Clunkers” program, several used cars were taken off the road. So, today’s used cars are actually not very old. Also, a new car loses its value as soon as it is purchased and driven off the lot. So, you may get a good almost new car at an affordable price. Buying a used car is not a bad deal today!
I understand that when anyone buys a used car, there is constant fear of purchasing a “lemon”. So, here are few tips to save you from being a used car horror story.
>> What’s Your Budget?
Whatever you buy, affordability comes first.
Buying a car is a huge step. You will have to spend on several things. So, consider all expenses well in advance.
You can also avail an auto loan to buy a used car. There are several lenders online and offline to give you money. All you need to do is prove your credit worthiness.
If you want to know the kind of car you can afford, make use of web. There are websites who offer you reliable prices of used cars.
>> A Vague, But At Least An Idea
You cannot walk into a lot or search online without knowing what you want to buy. Think of your current and future needs.
Do you use your car for work? If yes, do you need to carry heavy equipments and materials? You will need a pick-up truck then.
Do you have a large family? A minivan or an SUV would suit you.
Do you live in hilly area where a four-wheel drive is a necessity? An SUV is perfect.
Write down all the features you want in a car. Knowing what you need is the best way to begin your car search. Once you do it, you will be able to eliminate extra options.
>> No Substitute For Research
Don’t just rely on the local dealer. Search for used car in newspapers and magazines. Your search will be easier with the help of web. Many companies provide online inventory. You just need to fill in your requirements and you will get an extensive list of cars.
Even if you are partial to a particular brand and model, don’t stick to it. Explore other options as well.
Read reviews and articles of cars models. Visit websites of several car manufacturers to get an idea about the brands’ reliability and performance.
Buying a car is not a one-time expense. You will have to spend on fuel and maintenance. So, search for cars that provide best mileage and is less on maintenance.
>> A Few Favorites - Check Them Out
By now, you will obviously have few cars as your favorites. Inspect the cars thoroughly. This should be done even when you decide to buy online.
Also go for a test drive and ensure that all parts are working fine. You must be comfortable while driving. So, check for enough headroom and legroom. Take few sharp turns and see how the car performs.
>> Car’s Report
Nearly 6 million accidents occur in United States every year. Several such cars are sold in the market. So, you should be cautious while buying a used car.
Search for the car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).You can get Vehicle History Report with its help. Websites such as InstaVIN, CARFAX, AutoCheck, etc. have facilities that provide complete information about any vehicle by running its VIN.
You will also get to know everything about the car.
1. Information of previous owners
2. Details about vehicle inspection
3. Accident history, if any
4. Maintenance history
5. Salvage and theft details, if any
6. Information if the vehicle was recalled
>> Odometer Fraud
It is known fact that more the miles, lesser the cost of car. So, the odometer is rolled back in order to show lesser miles than actual.
You can check the tires of the car. The original tires should last for almost 60,000 miles. So, if you happen to see new tires on a car with low odometer reading, you should be alert.
You can also search for things like oil reminder stickers, warranty cards, service receipts, etc. They will give you some idea about the mileage of the car.
>> “As is”
Many used cars are sold "as is". When you buy such a car, the dealer won’t provide you with any warranty and guarantee.
You should avoid such cars as the dealer won’t take responsibility to repair anything after the sale. So, you must explicitly ask for extended warranty.
>> Trusted Mechanic
Ask your neighborhood mechanic to inspect the car. Inquire for any damage/problem that may have been invisible to you. Be very sure about the car and allow him to test drive the car.
>> Don’t Just Settle For The Sticker Price
Don’t pay the sticker price. Dealers know that buyers like negotiating and so they inflate sticker prices.
By now, you know how much useful internet can be. So, make use of it once more. Websites such as Kelley Blue Book will provide you reliable market value of the car. Negotiate with the dealer and pay for the real worth only.
>> Review Contracts Carefully
Once everything seems fine and is approved by your mechanic, you will have to sign the purchase agreement.
Make sure it has a short-term return policy. It will help you to recover every penny if you decide to return the car within a short time period.
Review the agreement carefully and go through all terms and conditions. Check that the dealer has fulfilled all his promises. Don’t sign unless and until you are sure about the car.
And that’s how you will get a used car which is absolutely fine.
Only with thorough research, you will have a better chance of finding a car that’s safe and sound.
Hope you have a great shopping experience. All the best!