How to Buy a Used Car?Let’s Make a Deal: Tips for Buying Your Next Used Car
Let’s Make a Deal: Tips for Buying a Used Car
There are but three certainties in life: death, taxes, and the occasional need to purchase a used vehicle. Name one person you know who hasn’t found themselves scouring used-car lots or automotive websites in search of urgent transportation options at some point. It’s a truth that’s seemingly sewn into the American experience.
When you’re in the market for a used car — to replace a vehicle that no longer works, or send a child off to college, or any of a million other reasons — you need to understand several things. Walking into this situation unequipped with a good amount of knowledge and information would be like driving a car without a steering wheel: You won’t get far before things start going sideways, and you’re likely to get hurt in the process.
Let’s examine some basic tips for buying a used car in 2021 so you can get back on the road without breaking a sweat — or the bank.
Best Tips for Buying a Used Car
You may be surprised to know that used-car sales outpace new car sales more than twofold in a regular year. Some 40.42 million used vehicles were bought in 2018, compared with 17.21 million new cars, trucks, and SUVs. There is a lot of wheeling and dealing happening when it comes to buying a used car.
The first thing you’ll want to do when preparing to buy a used car, obviously, is set a budget. How much can you truly afford? Attractive financing options often tempt buyers to purchase something beyond their means, so it’s wise to crunch the numbers at the onset and set a firm cap on how much you’re willing to spend.
If you require a loan to pay for the vehicle, can you take on a $400 per month payment for the next few dozen months? Be realistic. A common formula to determine your financial flexibility is to keep a monthly payment at no more than 10% of your take-home pay. Keep in mind that a used car typically needs more upkeep and maintenance than a new one, which is another cost consideration.
From there, make a list of vehicles in your price range that meet your particular needs. A soccer mom with five kids is likely searching for a reliable minivan for running errands and taking family vacations, while a young college student might just need a trustworthy hatchback to drive around campus and back home every few months. Narrow your list down to a handful of choices after performing the necessary research.
More Used Car Buying Tips and Tricks
If you’re wanting to purchase a “newer” used vehicle (i.e., less than five years old), you may want to inquire about certified pre-owned options. These cars and trucks include long-term warranties that are provided by the automaker (rather than the dealership). Chaparral Ford has an amazing selection of CPO vehicles.
Once you’ve identified your favorite choice, obtain that used vehicle’s history report. Before you commit, you want to know whether any major damages or accidents have occurred. You’d be stunned by how many used cars that look great actually have salvage titles, which means they’ve been declared a total loss by an insurance company. There are quite a few companies that specialize in vehicle history reports, such as Carfax and AutoCheck. Dealerships will provide these reports when you buy directly from them; if you’re planning to buy directly from an individual, it’s up to you to order the report online.
It’s also wise to test-drive the vehicle before you sign on the dotted line. You simply can’t know how “right” the car feels until you’re in that driver’s seat, steering wheel in hand. What looks good in pictures and on paper might not translate to the actual experience of driving it: Is the seating comfortable? Is mirror and window visibility good? Does the air conditioner blow cold air? Is the check engine light on? Leave no stones unturned.
Another responsible step that too many eager buyers overlook is to have the vehicle inspected. Sure, you’ve received a clean history report and you like the way the car handles after a test drive, but you should make absolutely sure that the car is in solid shape before you make an offer. If everything checks out, you’re in a position to negotiate the purchase price. You’ve done the research and you know what the car is worth, and you know how much you can realistically afford. Be cordial but firm.
How Can I Buy a Used Car Near Me?
Ultimately, buying a used car can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. The steps outlined above are a wonderful start. When you’re ready to eliminate all of the guesswork and be guided through a great purchasing experience, trust the professionals at Chaparral Ford serving Devine, Texas, and the San Antonio area. We guarantee you’ll drive away happy.