Let’s be real: Nothing beats the smell of a new car. Except for when you save thousands of dollars by buying that same car used and using new car scented air fresheners in it.
If you’re struggling with cash or just want to save as much money as you can, buying a used car is a great way to save thousands while still being able to drive a quality vehicle. Although there are positives, there are still some complications that can arrive when dealing with used vehicles. Here are 7 tips to help you choose the right used car for you:
List Your Essentials
Before you begin looking at different cars to buy, you must have an idea of what you’re looking for in the first place. You should take some time and list all the features that you absolutely need in your vehicle. If you’re a mom with 3 kids, put down that your vehicle needs 5 or more seats. If you’re a construction worker, maybe you need a vehicle that can pull a certain amount of weight. This will help narrow down your options and make the process quicker.
Set a Price Range
Once you know what features you want in your vehicle, decide on a price range that can fit your current income. If you’re going to take out a loan, ensure that the monthly car payment is around 20% or less of your total monthly income. Also, purchase based on the total cost instead of the monthly payments because they’re meant to make it look more affordable than it actually is.
Look At Vehicle History
When dealing with pre-owned vehicles, it is very important that you know the vehicle’s entire history. Using the car’s Vehicle Identification Number, access its history report and see how many previous owners there were if the vehicle has ever been in any accidents, how often it was taken in for maintenance and any other details you might want to know about the car’s past.
Check Pricing Guides
Pricing guidelines are tools used to determine how much a used car should actually cost when you factor in age, mileage, features and wear and tear. This is a great tool to use when shopping for a used car because many dealerships will try to overcharge you for a car that’s worth much less than the asking price.
Communicate With The Seller
If you have found a car that you are interested in, contact the seller before deciding to show up. Call them up and ask any questions you have about the car or the dealership, this will save you the time and trouble of visiting multiple dealerships just to find what you’re looking for. If it’s a private seller, you’ll need to ask more questions such as if they have a clear title or if there are any details about the car they left out the advertisement.
Don’t Skip The Test Drive
This might seem obvious but always test drive the vehicle before deciding to purchase. A car may have all the right features and a perfectly clean history report, but when you drive it you notice a problem that wasn’t listed in the advertisement. You could also test drive it and just realize it isn’t the right fit for you, so don’t skip it.
Negotiate The Final Price
With your newfound knowledge of used cars and price guidelines, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the seller to lower the price if you feel they’re overcharging. If the asking price doesn’t match the average market price, use that as a way to start the conversation.
Buying a used car can be a wonderful idea if you’re looking to make the most out of your money. After you negotiate the price, all that’s left is to close the deal. Enjoy your new car!