Buying a used car doesn’t have to be a disastrous occasion. Taking a few cautionary steps before driving off the lot will benefit you and prevent the purchase of a ‘lemon’. Below are five tips that everyone who is in the market to buy a used car should consider.
Know Your Budget
Knowing your budget and financial limits should seem obvious, but that has never stopped some buyers from exceeding their spending limit to only cause financial despair later. Often consumers make purchases with their hearts instead of their heads. Knowing what you can afford is the crucial first step when shopping for a used car. Also consider insurance, fuel costs and any repairs before purchasing your car.
Check the Vehicle History Report
Once you’ve found the car that suits your budget, don’t hesitate to ask the car salesman for the vehicle history report. This report will list the type of completed mechanical work and preventative maintenance on the vehicle. Requesting a Carfax report is a reliable step with which to start.
Never buy a car without test-driving it. While driving, take your time and make sure everything seems in working order. Monitor dashboard gauges, listen to the transmission to make sure it properly shifts gears and check the heater and air conditioner. Make sure to drive the car on local roads and highways at regular driving speeds. Listen carefully for any troublesome noises like squeaky belts or grinding breaks.
Have Car Inspected
If checking under the hood and underneath the car isn’t something you know much about then bringing along an independent mechanic to have the car inspected is a smart decision. A good mechanic will also check the aesthetics, inside and out. You might be entitled to pay a fee, but think of it as a preventative maintenance cost. It is better to pay a little now than a significant amount later.
Be Prepared to Negotiate
When you’ve finally picked out the car, test drove it and had it inspected, it’s time to make the deal. A fully prepared negotiator will have researched the car and know its value before stepping into the negotiating ring with the salesman. Researching the Kelly Blue Book will give you a general idea of what the car is worth, keeping in mind the condition and mileage. With your set price in mind, make your initial offer low. Always appear comfortable and confident when negotiating with the salesperson. With these tips in mind, you’ll be driving off in an affordable and reliable used car.
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