Buying a used car can be a stressful ordeal. Of course, sellers always claim the car you’re looking at is in mint condition and pressure you to buy. You give in and take the car home, only to have the brakes leaking or the wheel discs making funny noises. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a lemon of a car that will cost you hundreds of dollars in repair, maintenance, and other costs. This blog will try to help you protect yourself from such an experience.
7 Things To Do When Buying a Used Car
When you go to buy a new car, certain things are a given. The car is brand new. It comes with a factory warranty. The tires and other parts that wear down over time are brand new. All of this means you do not have to worry about hefty repair bills anytime soon. My first brand new car reminded me of my Cox service in my area. Silent, dependable, and low-maintenance.
A used car is a different breed of the car altogether. From a visual perspective, you can only see the outside of the car. Cunning sellers can touch up and re-paint cars with near perfection, making it impossible for the untrained eye to catch the signs of serious damage.
Used car salesmen have an unfortunate cliché of being pushy and sly. Some people even use it as a stereotypical slur to describe someone shifty and untrustworthy. Used car sellers, especially those on sales lots, are trained to badger people into buying cars. It’s part of their job and they earn a higher commission based on how much more money the car makes the dealership.
While there are certainly scrupulous and honest salesmen, a lot of them couldn’t care less for your needs and would sell you a bad car without batting an eye. This is why doing these seven things can help you protect yourself when buying a used car:
- Do Your Homework
- Stick to a Budget
- Get Carfax Reports
- Consider Financing
- Test the Car
- Professional Inspection
- Your Way or The Highway
Let’s take a quick look at these tips below.
Do Your Homework
Before making any major purchase, it’s usually a good idea to look around and do your research. This is especially important if you are on the lookout for a new car. Decide what you want from the car. Consider the following:
- How many people will use it?
- How much will you drive it?
- What features do you need?
Once you have these questions sorted, look for a car that fits them. Then look at the prices of the used cars that meet your requirements. Look at as many ads and other information from dealerships, sellers, and forums before you go look at used cars at a lot.
Stick to a Budget
Once you do your research, you should have a fair idea of how much the car you want would cost you. This gives you something concrete to work with. When you settle on a budget, it is very important that you stick to it stubbornly. Salesmen will often try to nudge you into going overbudget when they realize you’re interested in a particular car. Don’t reveal your budget until the seller makes an offer first. This puts you in a stronger negotiating position and you can probably shave a few hundred dollars off the cost.
Get Carfax Reports
Carfax reports carry all the details and history of a registered vehicle. Carfax reports let you know if the car you’re interested in has been in any road accidents or similar situations. In most cases, dealerships give you the Carfax report if you ask for it. If you’re buying from a private seller, you can always find the Carfax report yourself online.
Once you’ve decided on a potential car to buy, have a look at the price. You don’t necessarily have to buy a used car in cash. Many credit unions offer flexible financing options that can help ease the burden of spending a lot of money at once. Look around and speak to different lenders to get the best financing rates possible.
Test the Car
Testing the used car you want to buy yourself is a crucial part of the buying process. After all, you are likely to be the person using the car the most. Take it out on a test drive. Try driving inclines and highways, testing the car’s performance in different conditions. If something feels off, or if you’re not comfortable with the car, it’s not too late to back out.
So you did a test drive and the car seems okay to you. Should you buy it? Not just yet. If you’re a first-time buyer, it is very possible you don’t even know where to begin to look for potential faults. That means you need to bring in a professional to inspect the car. Your budget should include a cushion for a professional inspection, and you should insist on using a mechanic you know or someone recommended.
Your Way or The Highway
If the car meets your expectations and meets all of the above, it’s time to start haggling a price. It is essential that you should not hurry into a same-day purchase. Appearing too eager can put you in a weaker bargaining position. You need to stick to your original budget and not go overboard. That means you need to be prepared to walk away if the sale terms aren’t agreeable. I did that with the best Cox deals and they immediately offered me a better price. Chances are, a car salesman won’t let his commission walk out the door and will make you a better offer.