Sometimes it may not exactly be a sensible decision for your family to purchase a new vehicle. With the extremely high costs of new cars and the drastic depreciation when they are driven off the lot, you could just end up breaking your bank. This is why used cars are proving to be a more economical and budget-friendly choice. Contrary to popular belief, secondhand cars offer remarkable value to buyers. You can easily find first-owner or two/three year old models that haven’t been driven much. However, while purchasing a used car may seem like a judicious option, you still need to be smart. So, without further ado, look at these tips below for purchasing a used car:
Analyze Your Budget
When it comes to purchasing a used car, it is imperative to figure out what you can afford. Whether you’re planning to finance or purchase the vehicle outright, have a budget set in mind. Also, factor in a little extra money for repairs and maintenance. Checking the Blue Book values and dealer prices is an easy way to determine the accurate budget for a vehicle you want to buy. Once you have determined a fixed budget, stick to it and avoid buying impulsively. Don’t hesitate on walking away from a deal if a car isn’t the right price. There are plenty more fish in the sea.
Do Your Research
After you have analyzed your budget and settled on a fixed amount of spending, begin your research on the car you want to buy. You have plenty of options when it comes to buying a ride. From sedans, coupes, minivans, pickup tracks, to compacts, there is a vehicle for every taste. Consider researching on the best models for each vehicle type. Also, try gaining information about the most common problems with popular models. This helps in figuring out what warning signs you should be look for when you’re shopping around for a vehicle.
Once you have completed your research and decided on a car purchase, it’s time to contact some sellers. Ask them if you can come visit and analyze the vehicle’s condition. You have to check every inch of the car, interior and exterior. Go over the interior upholstery in detail as well as check the condition of the paint on the exterior body. If there are any dents or a minor fender-bender, don’t hesitate on asking the seller to get it repaired or compensate in price. It is imperative that you also check the engine parts by lifting the hood. If there are any rusty or dirty parts, it indicates problems with the engine.
Get a Mechanic’s Inspection
After you have checked out different vehicles and settled on one that you plan to buy, it is vital that you get a mechanic’s inspection. Even if the service engine light isn’t on, used cars could have serious problems lurking under the hood. A seller should be willing to let you get the car checked out by a mechanic. If the seller refuses, it is a clear sign of a shady deal. For each minor problem the mechanic finds, ask the seller to reduce the asking price. In the end, the cost to have a car inspected by a professional will be well worth the price. A mechanic can easily help you in discovering hidden problems, while assisting in figuring out the car’s value.
Vehicle History Report
After you have analyzed the vehicle’s condition by hiring a mechanic, it’s time for you to obtain a CARFAX® history report. This document is crucial for helping you reveal information about service points, title problems, and ownership history. It can even help you in determining whether they car has been in serious accidents. You can get the CARFAX® history report online. The main website has a huge list of comprehensive car reports available to purchase. These reports are pulled from a database that consists of more than seven billion car records.
Take It for a Test Drive
Once you have performed thorough research on the car you want to buy, it’s time for the test drive. Figure out whether it’s comfortable for you to get in and out of the vehicle. Do you have enough leg, head, and elbow room? What features does the car have for infotainment? Bear in mind you will be spending a lot of time in the car, so you need to be completely sure that you’re comfortable. Inspect the vehicle’s drive carefully. Check the touchscreen, lights, tires, audio system, and all convenience features to ensure they are in good working order.
The Leak Test
Upon taking the car for a test drive, make sure to inspect for any kind of leaks. Take a moment to park in a clean area on the road and let the car run for at least 30 seconds. Pump the gas a bit and then move the car to do a visible inspection of any leaking substances. If there is a black fluid on the parked space, this means oil is leaking from the engine. If the fluid is greenish, it means the anti-freeze is leaking, and if the color is pinkish, it means the leak is in the transmission. All of these are clear signs for repair.
Get the Paperwork
Avoid buying a vehicle that doesn’t have a clean title. It is imperative that the used car you purchase doesn’t have any issues with the registration or title. For your protection, it is a wise decision to ask for a bill of sale if you plan to buy the car. Once you own the car, make sure to sign the title and update the registration and tags. Then, drive your new vehicle all over the city and highways!
Look into Certified Pre-owned
If you can’t find a good used vehicle that suits your budgetary needs and transportation requirements, consider looking for certified pre-owned models. These vehicles undergo a rigorous and thorough inspection process from dealers. As a result, they are mostly in very good condition. The exterior and interior of the cars are refurbished to look as brand new. These vehicles also come with extended warranties and roadside assistance.
So, if you are planning to purchase a used car, make sure to follow the tips mentioned above.