Anyone who is looking to buy a used car has already made one smart decision. Buying a used car is an economically prudent choice for plenty of reasons. It saves money right off the bat, usually costs less to insure than a new vehicle and offers more peace of mind as today’s used vehicles are better than ever. Let’s take a look at five things to consider when buying a used vehicle.
Determine a Price Range
Before heading out to a car dealership to check out the used inventory, you should establish a budget. This way you can focus your used car search on only the models that you can afford. Why bother inspecting and test driving used vehicles that are out of your price range? Doing so is a waste of your own time and effort as well as the dealer’s. So sit down well before you begin car shopping and determine what sort of down payment you can pay and figure out how much of a loan you are willing to take out (and can be approved for) by calculating a reasonable monthly payment. Then commit to staying within this pre-established price range.
An Extended Warranty
Consider whether an extended warranty plan makes sense for the used vehicle that you are thinking about purchasing. Most dealerships offer either an extended warranty or a service contract to cover several different types of services and repairs. If not, consider obtaining an extended service contract from a third party. The repairs are typically approved without a hassle and they can be performed at many different authorized dealerships. As long as the repairs are approved, you won’t have to pay anything unless your service contract or warranty has a deductible.
Buying from a Dealership
People in the market for a used vehicle should strongly consider shopping for the vehicle at local car dealerships. Auto dealers typically put used vehicles through a wide variety of intensive tests to guarantee that they are reliable and safe. This is not true of private parties who often want to unload a lemon with a slew of malfunctions. A car dealership is in business for the long run so it can’t afford to sell lemons that will jeopardize its reputation within the community. Plenty of the used vehicles sold at auto dealerships will be backed by respectable and lengthy warranties. Some might even still be covered under the original factory warranty if they are fairly young.
Take a Look Below
Before buying a used car, you should inspect its underbody. Ask the dealership to raise it up so that you can inspect the bottom of the vehicle for rust, corrosion and general damage. This is another reason to shop for a used vehicle at an auto dealership instead of going through a private party. Few private parties will go to the extent of lifting the vehicle into the air for your perusal. While the vehicle is raised, check out the wheel wells for rust and inspect the exhaust system for black spots. If you see any, it indicates that the system might have harmful leaks.
A Thorough Inspection
Aside from checking out the vehicle’s underbody, make sure that the doors are not offset, that the fenders are secure and that the vehicle has even lines that verify that the frame has not been damaged. Look at the engine bay, especially where the metal struts meet. Make sure that the joints are not crooked or damaged and inspect them for any indication that they have been welded in the recent past.