Tips on How to Buy a Used Car

If you are tired of your old vehicle and want to get something new, but do not want to spend a lot of money on a brand new car, buying a used car seems the smartest option. There are a lot of choices available for people looking to buy a used car starting from private parties (sell cars for cash)to dealerships.

how to buy a used car

According to the recent study, over 40 million of used vehicles are exchanged each year. However, with so many options available out there choosing the right one for you can be a challenge. In order to make the process of searching and buying your perfect used car easier, we have created a list of the most important steps to follow.

Step 1: Establish a Budget

The first thing needed to be done is determining the amount of money you are able to spend on the purchase of the car. If you are planning to take a loan to pay for your car then your monthly payment should not be more than 20% of your salary. In addition to that, you have to keep in mind that used vehicles normally require more attention than in comparison to the brand new ones. Therefore, you might get exposed to such extra expenses as new tires, maintenance of the broken parts and other unexpected repairs.

Step 2: Build a Target Watchlist

After setting up a budget for the vehicle it is advised to create a target watchlist of desired vehicles. During this process, it is advisable to take into consideration your budget and the basic wants that the vehicle needs to meet. Thus, we suggest making a list of the top three cars that meet your criteria and start your search from there.

Step 3: Monitor Prices

There numerous sources on the Internet where you can check the price for the used vehicles. These could be websites where people are selling their cars privately for cash, used car sections of car dealerships or autotraders, who also offer cars for cash.

how to buy a used car

Step 4: Locate a Car for Sale in Your Region

The vast majority of marketplaces give an option of filtering your search based on your location. Undoubtedly, you can avoid this step but then you would incur an additional cost by traveling to the place where the car is located.

Step 5: Check the Vehicle History

This is probably the most important step that you have to pay attention to. Make use of services that offer vehicle history reports. These reports will show whether the car had any accidents, whether the odometer has been rolled back. In order to check the information about the vehicle, you will need to use the car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). The sooner you know the history of the car the better for you.

Step 6: Make Contact With the Seller

When you found a potential car that you like, there is no need to run out to see it. The next step would be getting in contact with the seller in order to verify all the information about the vehicle. During this phone call, you can go more in-depth about the actual condition of the car and get to know the information that was not published. If everything goes well during the phone call and you are satisfied with everything, then you can make an appointment for a test drive.

Step 7: Test Drive a Car

First of all, make sure that you do a test drive during daylight as it becomes easier to see the car’s condition. This procedure is the best way to figure out whether this is the right car for you and detect whether the car is actually in good condition. The majority of people, who sell their cars privately for cash, come up with a car description by themselves and would obviously avoid mentioning some negative things about the vehicle. Therefore, test drive is a good way to detect whether the description of the car actually matches with what you get in reality.

inspect a vehicle

Step 8: Inspect the Car by a Mechanic

If you are satisfied after the test drive, the next step would be to have the car inspected. Obviously, you will not be able to check the condition of the car the same way as the mechanic would do (unless you are the mechanic). Do not be greedy and spend $100 for the prepurchase inspection of the vehicle by a mechanic. This process might alert you of the problems that you were not able to detect by yourself.

how to buy a vehicle

Step 9: Negotiate a Deal

Even if you are completely satisfied with a vehicle, do not accept the deal straight away. It is advisable to try to decrease the price of the vehicle. You can do this by mentioning some of the minor defects of the car. The negotiation process will not make the price higher but can save you a few hundred dollars.

Step 10: Finalize the Paperwork

If you buy a car from a dealer then you would just sign the contract and might be also offered additional services such as warranty, fabric protection and so on. If you buy a car from a private party, you will just pay cash for the car. But make sure that the seller properly transfers the title and registration to you in order to avoid after-sale problems.


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