7 Used Car Buying Tips

You are in the market for a car, a used car at that. With new car prices averaging more than $30,000, buying used can be a terrific option for many consumers. Used cars have already lost a significant amount of depreciation with some newer models still under warranty. Keep in mind the following seven tips when shopping for a quality, used car.

1. Know your price.

How much car can you afford? Determine your spending limit and look for vehicles that come in below that amount. Your price should include your down payment as well as your monthly loan payments. Add in taxes, tags and your registration fees. Keep your total amount within line of your budget limit.

2. Choose your vehicle type.

What kind of vehicle do you need? Your heart may say sport coupe or luxury sedan, but your needs may be SUV. Stick with only the vehicle type that you will be happy with driving. Also consider your trim level or the amenities you need such as a navigation system, a moonroof or fancy wheels. The type of vehicle you buy will affect your insurance costs. Contact your auto insurer before you begin shopping to learn how these costs might affect you.

3. Consider your seller types.

You can buy a car from a variety of people and sources. There are new car dealers selling used cars, used car folk that sell late-model used cars, private parties and government auctions. If you want a certified used car, then a new car dealer is the way to go. If you’re looking for a bargain, then a private party will offer the best deal possible. Used car dealers may have the highest markups while government auctions tend to focus on fleet models with high mileage.

4. Reach out to the buyer.

You can locate buyers online, in newspaper ads or on the street. If you find a vehicle that you like, contact the buyer. Arrange to see the car during daylight hours and give yourself ample time to look over the car.

5. Test drive and inspect.

Look at the car closely, inspecting it inside, outside and under the hood carefully. Lift the carpeting to look for signs of water intrusion. Pop the hood and inspect the engine for leaks. Examine the body for scratches, dents and repairs. Find out if equipment is missing or has been replaced — ask the seller why. Take the car for a test drive, listen carefully for telltale signs of trouble and have your car inspected by your mechanic. Do a VIN check through the National Insurance Crime Bureau to verify that the vehicle has not been stolen.

6. Negotiate a deal.

Find out what a car is worth by obtaining its retail value. You can discover that information by visiting Kelley Blue Book’s website and plugging in the information. The dealer’s price may be much higher than the retail price — your goal is to work on getting the best price possible for your ride. Start off low and be prepared to meet the seller at a mutually satisfying middle ground.

7. Arrange for financing.

You will save money by shopping around for a used car loan. Banks and credit unions offer them — talk to your banker or union representative to find out what deals are available to you. Keep financing out of the price negotiation process. Interest rates on used car loans are low for those consumers with very good credit and for those who offer up a large down payment.

Purchase Considerations

Buying a used car can save you money over a new car purchase. It can cause you to lose money if you hurry the purchase and are sloppy with your research. Take time shopping for a car and avoid the typical pressure tactics. You’re making an important investment, one that you may have to live with for many years.

Author Information

Darren likes to spend most of his time restoring classic cars back to their former glory and when he is not working on motors, he finds writing about them both relaxing and fulfilling. He knows firsthand that buying a used vehicle can be tricky and would advise anyone looking for one to always have the necessary car history checks carried out in advance.

Carsurfer Admin

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