Buying a car can be one of the biggest decisions anyone will make. You have to take into account the price of the car, the comfort it provides, and the level of maintenance it requires. You also have to weigh in whether you can afford a new car or a used one. While buying a brand new vehicle is the best thing to do, most of us only have the budget to purchase a used car.
Here are 8 tips to keep in mind when you are planning to buy a used car.
1. Set a budget.
The first thing you need to consider is your budget. Know that the higher your budget, the better car you will be able to purchase—it is just the way it is. Also, know that you should have a budget for the actual purchase and a separate budget for any minor repairs to make the car road-worthy.
2. Do your research.
After setting your budget, research on the possible options you have. If you are unsure of what brand or model of car you want to buy, start reading up on the ones that fall within the budget you have. Check reviews posted on established websites. Ask for recommendations from friends. Look into the cost of maintenance and resale value of the car you are eyeing. Remember that it is also important to ensure the availability of spare parts and service centers for the car you want to purchase. And look for trustworthy used car dealers that other people have tried and were happy about.
3. Have a mechanic check the car.
Once you have a particular car that you want to purchase, make time to visit the dealer with a mechanic. You can either hire a mechanic recommended by your friends or hire one from a reputable service center. The mechanic can check for issues the car has and report them to you to help with your decision making. The mechanic can also check for signs that the car was flooded—this is a serious dent in the history of a car, keep in mind. And the mechanic can also tell you about the mileage of the car. This is an important detail because vehicles with a higher mileage have the tendency to need repairs more often.
Get inside the vehicle and check the interior. Remember that one sign that a car was flooded is if it has a strong odor; molds usually accumulate in the interior of a flooded car, causing a foul smell. Make sure the door locks, window controls, reclining seats, and seat belts are working properly. Test the entertainment system, cabin and indicator lights, and air-conditioner of the car, too.
4. Look into the service records.
Check the service records of the used car you’re considering to buy. They may be a set of receipts or a log issued for all cars. If these are unavailable, ask questions about the former owner of the car or how the car was obtained by the dealer. This is important since it will give you an idea on whether the car is road-worthy or not.
5. Talk with the dealer.
This part may require a bit of discernment since you will have to evaluate the disposition of the dealer. Observe the dealer whenever they answer your questions. Try to see if the dealer is too eager to get rid of the car or to sell it. If the dealer is overeager, the car may have some hidden issues the mechanic may have overlooked.
6. Test-drive the car.
When you test-drive the car, check for issues on the steering wheel when you make turns. Put the car in full throttle to check for any noise coming from the engine. Check if the brakes are working properly by stopping the car abruptly in several instances. While driving straight, the car should go straight—it should not veer a little to the left or to the right.
7. Check the documentation.
Look into the documentation of the car. Make sure there are no problems with the registration, permits, and certifications. This is very important as you definitely do not want to end up buying a stolen vehicle, do you?
8. Negotiate for a better deal.
Before you finalize the purchase, you can still try to lower the price. If the dealer does not give you a discount, you can instead ask for accessories or insurance for the car you will purchase. Your bargaining skills will be tested here, and if you are a good enough negotiator you can probably increase the value of your purchase with the add-ons you can get.
While it may not be always easy to find the best used car in the market, these tips can help you in choosing the most suitable used car for your needs.