41 million used cars are sold every year in the United States. For many people, buying a used vehicle is the superior choice.
When buying a used vehicle, you’ll typically be paying much less than when buying a new one. You also won’t have to worry about the high depreciation that a new car can face in the first year of ownership. Additionally, there are also a lot of great used vehicles to choose from, but you’ll need to know how to make the very best choice.
Here’s what you should look for when buying a used car.
Know Your Budget
One of the first things that you’ll need to do when buying a used car is to determine what your budget will be.
You need to know how much you’re willing to spend and should have an idea of the price range of the vehicle that you’re looking for. Keep in mind that the price you’re willing to pay will affect how reliable of a car you’re able to find.
You should also consider whether you want to use financing or if you’ll be paying for the vehicle completely out of pocket. If using financing, you may want to check with some lenders ahead of time and start saving up for a down payment.
If you’re strapped for cash, you might also want to consider making use of end of year car deals as well.
Do Some Research First
Not all used cars are the same, and some will be more reliable than others will, even if they have the same gas mileage or have been maintained similarly over the years. It’s a good idea to spend some time researching online to find out about various used car models that you may be interested in.
Learning about various makes, models, and years of used vehicles that are out there can give you a good idea of what to expect. It can help you determine the kind of vehicle you might want to look for and can help a lot during your search.
Get a Used Car Inspection
When buying a used car, it’s a good idea to hire a third-party mechanic that can inspect it for you. While it will cost you a bit of money, it can be well worth it since they’ll be able to identify any issues for you and help you get a good idea of whether the car is mechanically sound and worth the price that you’ll be paying for it or not.
At the very least, consider bringing a friend or family member with you who has knowledge about vehicles and can help you determine the condition of the car’s exterior, interior, and functionality. While it’s not the only thing that’s important, it’s also good to think about how high the mileage is since a vehicle with high miles is generally less likely to function well.
Check for a Great History
When buying a used car, it’s a great sign if it’s clearly been maintained well.
It’s a good idea to ask if there is any maintenance or repair documentation that comes along with the vehicle so that you can have a better idea of how the previous owner or owners cared for the vehicle. If the vehicle seems to have gotten regular checkups and preventive maintenance, it’s a good sign that it will be a quality vehicle that won’t let you down easily.
You might also want to look at a vehicle history report online to find out more about the vehicle’s history as well as any accidents it has had over the years. A car that is accident-free is more likely to be a good choice.
Consider Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles
It’s important to keep in mind that not all used vehicles are the same. If you’re looking for the best used cars, you might want to consider searching for a car that is Certified Pre-Owned (CPO).
CPO vehicles are verified for quality and will have undergone careful inspections. All major systems will have been examined closely. A CPO vehicle will have also been reconditioned and will be fewer than 5 years old with less than 75,000 miles on it.
These vehicles often come with great warranties from a manufacturer or dealer as well, so you can be sure that you’ll be protected. Buying one of these vehicles will give you greater peace of mind when compared to buying another type of used vehicle.
Take It Out for a Spin
In addition to having a used vehicle inspected, make sure that you take it for a test drive before you purchase it as well. Sometimes problems with a vehicle won’t appear until it’s been on the road for a few minutes.
You’ll want to crank up the engine and listen for strange noises that could signify that there’s a problem. It’s also a good idea to see if the check engine light is on or if there are any other issues that you can identify.
Once you’re on the road, be sure to try driving at various speeds. Use the gas and the brakes and ensure that the transmission shifts as it should.
Check the Paperwork
When buying a used vehicle, be sure that you think carefully about all of the paperwork and check it thoroughly. Look out for added fees, and be sure that you ask about anything that you don’t understand.
During the sale, you may also want to consider adding on certain things, such as extended warranties and insurance. However, keep in mind that many of these things can be purchased from a third party for a better price.
Be sure to think carefully about all the paperwork and ensure that everything is as you expected before finalizing the purchase.
Using These Tips When Buying a Used Car
When planning to buy a used car, be sure that you know what to look for. Buying a used car doesn’t have to be difficult, but you should make sure that you keep all of these tips in mind if you want to make a great choice.
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