Buying a Used Car? Here’s What Not to Do
Go that extra mile by learning what mistakes to avoid when shopping for a used car
Buying a used car can be challenging. You're making a significant investment without some of the "safeguards" that come with a new car- that means you'll need to take extra precautions. Here are 5 tips for removing some of the uncertainty and guesswork when buying a used car.
Don’t wait until the last minute.
You must be in complete charge of any large transaction, whether a used car, a property, or anything else, or you will be at the seller's mercy. You lose control of the issue if you wait until you're in a position where you need a car right away. You're at the mercy of the sellers and the options accessible to you, and you don't have much leeway to refuse.
That shouldn't happen. Keep an eye on your existing vehicle to see if it's approaching the end of its lifespan. Start looking for a replacement vehicle before your current vehicle fails altogether. That way, you'll be able to say "no" to vendors or cars that don't suit your requirements.
Never place yourself in a situation where you can't say "no" and walk away from a large purchase.
Don't go shopping without determining what you require and want.
Spend some time examining your needs and researching what kind of car will best meet those demands before you start hunting.
The first step is to determine exactly what you're looking for. Do you require a tiny car for your daily commute? Do you need to carry your family in a larger car? Do you require a truck on a regular basis to transport goods? Focus on what you'll be doing with the vehicle most days rather than the unusual scenarios.
Go online and do some research once you've determined what you're looking for.
Look through old Consumer Reports issues to see which models were deemed the best a few years ago. Also, look for the most recent Consumer Reports car issue and read the reviews of various brands to see how they've held up over time. This will provide you with a number of makes and models to consider, which you can then research online. When reading online car reviews, don't get too caught up in a few poor remarks; there are always people who have unique circumstances, and the complete story is rarely conveyed in online comments. Keep an eye out for frequent favorable or negative feedback.
Don't put off thinking about how you'll pay for the car.
If you have the funds to buy the car, this isn't an issue, and it's actually the best way to go. However, not everyone can afford to pay cash. Before you go car shopping, chat with your bank about car financing. What is the maximum amount you can borrow at a reasonable interest rate? Is it possible for the bank to get the paperwork in place so that the loan can be completed promptly once you select the correct car?
You should never begin car shopping without first determining how much you can afford to spend. You'll need a reasonable upper limit, which your bank can assist you to determine.
Don't buy anything unless you've had it inspected by a mechanic.
If you're thinking about buying a car, don't pay for it until you've had it inspected by a professional. Most auto shops offer this service for a nominal fee, or perhaps for free. Use a store you've already visited with success or one recommended by a trusted friend.
In a pre-purchase inspection, a mechanic should bring out any severe problems with the vehicle. Most used cars will have one or two minor problems or possibly a significant issue or two in the future, so don't dismiss a car because it has one problem on the horizon. You're primarily interested in avoiding cars with a lot of impending problems.
The next time you need to buy a used car, follow these steps to make an informed decision. Remember that the sooner you begin, the better.