If you’re buying a used car to save some money, you know that negotiations are typically one of the most difficult steps. Before you get to that stage, however, you need to do all the footwork and paperwork that comes with choosing the right car and making sure it’s the one for you. The research process deals with a lot more than looking at the car you think you want, but it can potentially help you save thousands over time in purchase and maintenance costs.
1. Figure Out Your Budget
You probably know that you need a budget, but setting a budget involves more than just deciding on a price range for a car. If you’re taking out a loan to buy the car with a down payment, you’ll need to factor in loan payments plus interest. You should also figure out how your auto insurance might change if you get a different car; if it’s newer, the cost could go up. It can also go up if you decide to buy a convertible, for example. Gas, maintenance and cleaning costs should also be considered. Finally, factor in any mechanical work it needs; even if the seller says they’ve had it checked out, you should get an independent mechanic’s opinion.
2. Search For Alternatives
If you’re looking for functionality and reliability, you’ve probably already got a few model names down. But before you start looking for any of these models on sale, look for lesser-known models that are comparable to what you would find in a better-known brand. By choosing a less popular car, you could save yourself plenty of money on your down payment.
3. Consider Financing Options
If you’re not paying in cash, you have the option to finance with a dealer, but you don’t have to do just that. Talk to multiple lenders, such as credit unions, and see what kind of competitive rates you can get. It helps to already have financing options on the table before you step foot in the dealership; it’s one more thing you have in your favor.
4. Get a Vehicle History Report
Before you even contact the seller to express interest, get a history report on the vehicle you’re looking at. You can find this information on different websites using the VIN or license plate number. The report will give you all sorts of information, such as whether the odometer has been rolled back or whether it has a salvage title. If the report is at all negative, you should continue your search.
5. Test Drive
A test drive is a staple of every car sale, but when you’re buying a used car there are a few extra things you should look out for. Listen for engine sounds that don’t sound right, check the dash for any warnings lights, and take the car on a freeway so you can test it at higher speeds. Also take the car on hills so you can see how it performs under a little stress. If you see or feel anything that makes you uncomfortable, ask the seller about it, but don’t be afraid to walk away. Engine problems or damage are not to be taken lightly.
Don’t plan on buying a car on the same day you inspect it. If you’re confident that the vehicle you’re looking at has a good report and is a safe buy, you can contact the seller and start the process at any time. Don’t let them try to pressure you to buy the car right then and there. You’ll be the one driving it, so you make the final call. Contact a dealership like Gagel’s Auto Sales to get started.Read More