Whether you don’t feel a brand new car is necessary, or financial constraints leave you with used as your only option, it is possible to get great deals on great cars. There is naturally a lot of trepidation around this process—you may dread the slick dealers, or worry you’ll end up with a lemon that will drain your bank account. While there is no way to 100 percent guarantee a purchase, doing a bit of homework before you begin shopping can certainly tilt the scales in your favor. One of the best things to know is common mistakes so you can avoid making them yourself.
Don’t Wait Until You Absolutely Need a Car
Maintaining control in the purchasing process, whether it is a car, house or other major item, is crucial to things working out to your advantage. Don’t put off your shopping until you are left with no choice but to start looking for one because your old one kicked the bucket, or those uber-expensive repairs common to older vehicles finally reared their ugly heads. When you are in a true position of ‘need’, you leave yourself at the mercy of the sellers. You don’t think things through; you don’t do your research thoroughly enough, nor do you carefully weigh your options.
Begin searching for a used vehicle before crisis strikes so you have an idea of what you want and need, what you can pay,etc..
Cast a Wider Net
When it comes to maximizing your chances of finding the perfect used car for you, don’t limit yourself to dealers just in your area. Hop online to check out the inventory of dealers a bit farther afield; check out Craigslist and other sites that list cars for sale. Not only will you have a greater variety, you’ll increase the chances of getting a better price.
Get a Hold on Your Financial Situation
Have your money situation sorted out before you begin looking for a car. If you’re paying cash, you’re lucky that you don’t have to consider this, but I gather most people will be looking at some type of financing, whether a third party loan or through the dealer. First and foremost, figure out what you can spend, and stick with this budget. Shop around for some loans to get an idea of how much you can borrow and at what interest rate. Don’t focus so much on a certain monthly payment as what you want to pay in total for a vehicle. It is easy to just put our attention to our monthly budget, and go from there, but this will lead to paying a lot more for a car than you probably should, or would want to.
Don’t Skip the Mechanic’s Inspection
This is such a crucial step that many people fail to take when shopping for a used vehicle. They either assume everything is probably fine, or are a bit too trusting. And even honest dealers and private sellers may not know a problem exists, so you really can’t take their word for anything as they may have no idea. So, don’t finalize a purchase until you can get a mechanic to look over the car and let you know if there are any major problems with it. No used car is perfect, and they’ll probably be at least a couple of minor issues and some bigger problems on the horizon. That is not necessarily a deal breaker as an older car will eventually need some work; the name of the game here is avoiding vehicles that are going to give you a headache right out the gate.