When you’re looking for a used car, there are many more options to consider than when you buy a new car. You have to account for the automobile’s reliability, it’s accumulated mileage, it’s appearance, and how you plan to use it, among other things.
While used cars cost significantly less than their newer counterparts, you still want to get a good deal when purchasing one. The problem is that you don’t know whether you’ve gotten a good deal or not until you put your used vehicle on the road. However, there are ways to ensure that you don’t buy a lemon that leaves you soured on the whole used car buying process.
So many ways to buy
Today, there are so many more ways to buy used cars. There is the traditional method of going to the dealership, but it faces stiff competition as the modus operandi for car buying. Consumers love the autonomy that online shopping provides, and the dealership experience is often antithetical to the online car-buying experience.
Online classifieds like OfferUp and Craigslist allow private sellers and car searchers to link up and set up sales online. This makes it easier to find cars at a budget-friendly price. However, there is the added risk of meeting someone in person that you’ve only met online, to make a transaction worth thousands of dollars.
Some national online car dealers allow consumers to buy used cars and have them delivered right to their driveway. Also, online car auction sites like Auto Auction Mall are gaining in popularity. With auto dealers like these, consumers pay the same price for used cars that the dealerships pay.
Know the vehicle’s history before buying
Even if a used automobile looks to be in mint condition from an aesthetic standpoint, you need to dig into the car’s history. If you are buying from a dealership, inquire as to the condition of the car when they procured it. Also, if asked, they will provide you with a vehicle incident report that lists any repairs or castotrophes associated with the vehicle.
If you are buying from a private seller, especially if they’re someone that you met online, be sure to bring a mechanic with you to do an on-the-spot vehicle inspection. Even if you don’t have a mechanic friend, it’s better to pay a mechanic to take a look beforehand than to buy the vehicle and have to pay a mechanic to fix it days later.
It is important to know as much about a vehicle as you can before making the purchase. You should already know what vehicle you want, how much it’s worth, and how much you are willing to pay for it. Kelly Blue Book can give you a good idea of what a used vehicle is worth in good and working condition. However, before making the purchase, you want to weigh the KBB worth of the vehicle against its present condition.
Once again, this is where bringing a mechanic with you can help a great deal. It’s one thing to know that a vehicle needs repairs, but a mechanic can approximate the cost of those repairs for you. To come up with a fair price, you simply subtract the estimated cost of repairs from the KBB value, and you have a fair price to offer.
Remember, there is much more to think about when you are purchasing a used car. However, as long as you go into the process armed with a little knowledge — and a strong resolve not to get a bad deal — you will be okay.