How to Buy a Used Car

How to Buy a Used Car

A lot of people wonder how to buy a used car.  There are some who think that buying a used car is more trouble than it is worth, but the savings is very substantial, sometimes saving your hundreds to thousands of dollars. Here are some ways on how to buy a used car.

When you have finally decided on the budget and the things you want in the car, it is time to find the right car.

Finding the Right Car
When you are buying a used car, it helps to have a model or two in mind, but still be very flexible when you shop for one so that you can get the best value.  The best deals might not involve the models you had wanted in the beginning.

You should know the correct questions to ask to avoid wasting your time and getting aggravated in the process, especially when you deal with used cars owned by private owners.  Here are some questions to ask:

  • Ask whether the seller is the original owner.  If not, then ask the seller when he or she was able to purchase the vehicle and if possible, get the contact information of the previous owner.
  • Does the seller have the title?
  • What is the reason for selling?
  • What is the mileage on the car currently?
  • Have the car been serviced?  If yes, ask if you can obtain a copy of the maintenance records.
  • If the car has been serviced, ask where it was performed.
  • Has the car been into any accidents?  If yes, how much damage did it receive and where was this repaired?
  • Are there mechanical defects or issues you should know about?

What to look for? Well, if the seller is the original owner, he or she should be able to tell you the car’s entire history.  You should also get a reliable indicator of the wear and tear that the car has been through by looking at the cumulative mileage.  Further, if the car has been properly taken cared of, then service records should be available — no exceptions!  If the seller does not have the title to the car, then get out and choose another car from your list of potential sellers.

Lastly, remember that you may be able to save a few dollars when buying a used car from an individual, but you will also have fewer alternatives to take if you get into trouble!

Test Driving the Car
When you take a car on a test drive, you should take note of how the car performs when it accelerates, rides, and turns a corner, when parking, steering or braking.  You should also listen for odd sounds and vibrations that may be indicators that there is something wrong with the car.  You should tell these things you note to the mechanic and then take the car on a second test drive.

When you test drive a used car, make sure to:

  • Drive the car at more than 60 mph, because most problems may not be noticeable at low speeds.  Check to see if the front end shakes or vibrates.
  • Make sure that the steering wheel does not vibrate.
  • Check for odd noises when you accelerate from being stopped.
  • Check to see if the car goes to one side or the other when accelerating.
  • Check to see if the transmission shifts smoothly.
  • Make sure that the break pedal does not feel squishy, or that the car does not go to one side when you brake.

Even when you have test driven the car to your satisfaction, remember that you should always have a mechanic check on it before finalizing the deal.  A trusted mechanic could tell you if the car has some hidden defects or if a repair is required.  If this is the case, then you have the option of not buying the car or negotiating with the seller for a lesser price or shouldering the repair costs.

Learning how to buy a used car is more than just learning how to haggle.  Get the best car at the best price today!

Last Updated On:
Monday, May 18, 2015
Categories: Money WISE