Buying a used car is not like buying a new car. When you buy a new car, you have the added benefits of knowing that you are the first owner of the car and that warranties cover most mechanical defects for the first several years. Because the purchase of a used car does not have the same protections as purchasing a new car, a buyer must do their research before deciding to hand over money for any vehicle. Here are some tips that can reduce the uncertainty about the quality of the used car and take the guesswork out of how much you should be paying for the vehicle.
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE
One of the worst things that can happen when you are shopping for a used car is being rushed into making a decision before you have all of the information that you need. Most cars do not die all of a sudden, so when you feel that your current car is nearing the end of its useful life, start the shopping process. Figure out how much you can afford to pay for your next car and what features you will need to focus on for the car to accommodate your lifestyle. You never want to put yourself into a situation where you cannot say no to a seller because you have to have a car right away.
MAKE A LIST
Before heading out to look at vehicles, you should have a list prepared of the things that you need to look for when shopping. The document that you create should include a list of acceptable makes and models and the production years that you would be interested in. You should also include a price range that you would be willing to pay for that vehicle based on the average value of that type of vehicle, which can be found at Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com). Additional features that interest you can also be added to the list so you will remember to look for them when shopping.
Once you have found a vehicle that meets your needs and fits into your price range, have the vehicle checked out by a mechanic before you decide to purchase it. Most auto shops will do this for you for a minimal charge, which is much better than finding out about a major problem months after making the purchase. The mechanic will point out any major issues that you should be aware of, allowing you to avoid purchasing a car that has a bunch of impending problems.