How to buy a used car
I stumbled on this great resources on buying a used car guide and I need to share it with all. It culled from http://www.samarins.com/buying/index.htmlNew or used car
By choosing a used car instead of new, you can save some money. A new car depreciates fast, especially in the first few years. After 3-4 years, a car is worth only about 60-70% of its original price. As soon as a just-sold new vehicle drives out of the dealership, it drops a thousand or two in value as it suddenly becomes a used car.
Yes, it's nice to drive off the lot in a shiny brand new car that is covered with bumper-to-bumper warranty and if you can easily afford it, why not? However, I have calculated this many times with many people: even if a new car is sold with zero-percent financing, it will almost always cost you few thousands more than a good 3-4 years old used car.
It's easier to pay-off a used car, which gives you more flexibility. With a new car you could be locked in a lengthy contract and it's hard to get out of it earlier if for some reason you decide to get rid of a car before the contract expires. The insurance is also often cheaper for a used car. Another advantage of buying a used car is that you could buy a premium or luxury model for the price of a base small new car.
Of course, buying a used car is a bit of a gamble - some cars may be in a very good condition and others may have some hidden problems. You will probably have to spend some time and look at a number of cars before you find the one that you like. Hopefully, this information will help you with the whole used car buying process. You can also check my article what to look for when buying a used car with illustrations
. We also have a section on car maintenance.Taking a risk out of used car buying processFirst
, be prepared. Do as much research as you can. Read reviews, consumer reports, ask colleagues and friends, compare options, gather gas consumption data on the make and model you're interested in. Examine reliability ratings. Try to determine maintenance costs and upkeep, etc. Your goal should be to narrow your search to one or two models. Why? Because if you just enter a dealership without knowing what you want, chances are more likely than not that you won't be happy with your purchase. Later you may find out that it's simply not exactly what you wanted or what you can afford. Someone I know bought a used BMW wagon for quite a reasonable price. When he went for servicing, they discovered that the rear shock absorber was leaking. The price for the part alone was close to $1000! Finally, he sold his BMW and bought a used Camry that proved less expensive to maintain.
Another purpose to narrow your choice down to only one or two models is because when you test-drive a few different cars of the same model, it will be much easier for you to compare their condition and pick the best one. Recognizing a transmission problem during your test drive would be easier to do if you were to try a few vehicles of the same model instead of becoming confused by testing out different models.Second,
without a doubt, you should check a car's history records. This will help you to eliminate half of the vehicles from your list with potential problems. Vehicles that have been flooded or restored after serious accidents, those with rolled back odometers, heavily abused vehicles (e.g., ex-rentals), those with outstanding liens, etc., can be eliminated after simply checking the history record of the vehicle. In fact, it is not even a good idea to look into a car until you check its history. To learn further How To check a car's history click on this link: How to check a car history by the VIN number.Third
, Don't buy based on what you've been told because it may not always be the truth. Check out the car yourself very carefully. Ask a knowledgeable person who knows about cars to help you. Check my Illustrated used car checklist to learn what to look for in a used car.
As a final step, bring the car to the mechanic you trust for an inspection. A word of caution, NEVER give a deposit or sign a contract before the car is inspected.Fourth
, Be extremely careful when doing the paperwork. For example, if you buy from a private owner, make sure there are no registered liens against the vehicle and that the person who signs the Bill of Sale is the actual owner of the car. Check with the Vehicle Registration Authorities to make sure the car has not been stolen. If buying from a dealer, read the warranty policy and all the papers including the fine print very carefully. If it's a "Certified" used car, you'd be wise to check exactly what items were checked off and approved because sometimes the car might have a history of an accident in the past, come with a poorly maintained engine and still be Certifiable. Do not rely on a salesperson's verbal promises. Whatever is promised, get it in details in writing. Find out if the remaining original warranty will be transferred into your name. Different manufacturers have different warranty policies. For questions about vehicle registration, change of ownership, legal aspects, etc., contact your local Vehicle Registration authorities found in my link page.Car value and price
Don't look for cheapest car. When it comes to used cars, "best deal" doesn't mean the cheapest one. Your goal is to look for a car in good condition for reasonable price. If you choosing B3tween relatively cheap car that might have an accident in the past or was poorly maintained, needs some repair, etc. and more expensive one that is in excellent condition, I'd without a doubt choose the more expensive one. You will simply save on repairs and will have fewer troubles driving it. Don't think they sell it cheap because they don't know the price or they simply want to clear their inventory. If they sell it cheap, definitely there is something wrong with it.
Remember, proper price for a certain used vehicle is not the one indicated in blue or black book - they give you just an average price. The actual vehicle value big time depends on a car condition. Two cars may only look the same. One may have been maintained so poorly and the engine won't last long after you buy it. The previous owner of another vehicle may have been religious about maintenance, was using only synthetic oil, has done the rustproof and so on. Without a doubt, I'd rather pay $2000 more for this second car just to have peace of mind driving it. So, how to determine how much you will have to pay for a certain model?
Just to show you as an example, I search my local Auto Trader website for a three years old Honda Accord. The search result gives me more than 200 vehicles with the price ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. To be realistic, I know that for $10,000 I will not be able to buy something really good. The $20,000 seems to me too high. But there are quite a few cars for $13,000 - $15,000 price range with reasonable mileage - this looks more realistic to me. I also know that most new car dealers will be able to give me a discount from $1,000 to $3,000 if I use proper negotiation strategy (read below). So, in our case with three years old Honda Accord, I'd probably will be able to get the one in a good condition for $13,000 - $14,000 depending on mileage, options, etc. You can use the same strategy everywhere; whether is Miami Florida or Winnipeg Canada. Check my page Used cars for sale on the Internet to find appropriate website for your area.
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