Things to Consider Before Buying a Used Car

December 20th, 2016 by

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There has never been a better time to buy a used car than right now. As 2016 comes to a close, and the arrival of 2017 is right around the corner, used car sales are on a major upswing. The rock bottom prices for used cars can be attributed to the influx of end-of-lease vehicles being returned to dealerships, as well as a higher demand for pre-owned versions of popular models. The reason behind the decrease in used car pricing hardly matters, with drivers more focused on finding a high quality cheap used car, than anything else. Before you head down to your favorite used car dealer, take a few moments and consider what you should be looking for in your new-to-you car, and why each one matters.

Consider This: Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Used

Buying a used car can feel a lot like putting all of your money on red. While your chances of coming out on top are fifty-fifty, it seems as though a lot of your fate is entirely left up to chance. Rather than gamble through your used car purchase, or crossing your fingers for a positive outcome, take these tips into consideration as you embark in your used car buying journey. Keeping each one in mind will help better prepare you for the process, and give you a better chance of finding a reliable used car that will last for as long as you need it to.

  • Find a Reputable Seller: While we are sure that the guy on Craigslist is sincere in his promise to sell you his car for $1, that sort of discount is more than likely a scam waiting to happen. The roadside used car dealer may entice you onto his crumbling lot with flashy signs and performing circus folk – but a reliable used dealership won’t need to resort to such tactics just to get you in the door. The best way to find a reliable used car that will last, is to first find a reliable seller. Private car sales may work for some, but the only way to truly secure your purchase and protect your hard earned money, is to buy from a respected dealership that is well known in the community. You can research online, or ask friends and family for recommendations. Whatever you do, don’t go to a dealership blindly, or solely because they offer “the best deals in town.” Be smart, and choose wisely.
  • Test Drive it to Death: Well, maybe not to death, but certainly take your time driving your potential new-to-you car before signing any paperwork. Take the car in question on both local city streets, as well as out on area highways. The more versatile your test drive is, the better. Test out the brakes, operate all of the signals and power features, and keep the radio turned down so that you can pay attention to any strange noises. If anything seems off, or the salesman doesn’t offer an acceptable answer to your inquiries – move on. Not just from the car itself, but from the dealership as well. Having a salesman riding shotgun on a test drive can be a great way to get a feel for how the dealership operates. If you don’t like how the representative is acting, take it as a sign and move on to the next location.
  • Check it Out – Inside and Out: Giving a used car a nice once-over is not enough to ensure that the vehicle you are about to buy is in great overall condition. While you shouldn’t expect a used car to be pristine, it should be free from any major defects. Unsightly chips out of the exterior paint, rips in the interior upholstery, and other cosmetic issues can hint at the overall quality of the car. If the previous owner did not care for the vehicle’s cosmetics, it might be a clue as to how they did (or didn’t) keep up with regular maintenance and vehicle health. If there are any unsightly blemishes or aesthetic issues, address them with the dealership. See if there is anything they can do to fix the problem, and decide whether or not they are a deal breaker for you moving forward. If you can live with a few dents on your used car, then more power to you! Just be aware of any and all potential problems before finalizing the sale. A well-informed used car purchase, is a happy one.
  • Research the Make and Model: If you find a used car that you simply adore and must have, practice some self control and first familiarize yourself with the make, model, and year. Different model years of the same car can feature entirely different dependability and satisfaction ratings, so be sure to do your due diligence before you buy a model you have heard is reliable. Thanks to the power of mobile connectivity, you can get this research out of the way while you are at the dealership. While this will save you a lot of time going back and forth, be sure not to make any rash decisions on the spot. Buying a car is a big decision, and you shouldn’t enter into it lightly.
  • Ask for a Vehicle History Report: You don’t have to be a detective or a private eye to figure out what a used car has been through in the past. Ask the dealership for a vehicle history report, or a CarFax. A reputable dealership should have no problem materializing this information, and if your salesman hesitates when you ask, run! A reliable dealership will be completely transparent about the cars they sell, because they should have nothing to hide. A CarFax can clue you into the past history of the car, including how many owners it had, and whether it was properly maintained. This information can be a vital piece of the used car buying puzzle, and ensure that your new-to-you vehicle is a dependable one that will last for years into the future.

When you set out to purchase a used car, truck, or SUV, it is important to follow these simple steps, and keep them in consideration. Returning a car isn’t as easy as swapping a sweater for a more flattering color option, so be certain of the used car you end up buying before you commit to it.