One of the hardest consumer decisions is the purchase of a used vehicle. First, you must trust that the seller is being truthful about the condition and second, you have to find someone reputable who can properly inspect the car or truck for problems and defects.
The first step in buying a used car should be determining what your price range will be. Once this budget is set you can use the classified ads in local newspapers or check with dealerships to get a general idea of prices in your area. At some point, you will also need to decide what kind of automobile best meets your needs. There are many factors involved such as space requirements, age of children, dependents, or friends who may be riding with you all requiring different things like easy access for wheelchairs or booster seats.
Age of the Vehicle
You will also need to decide on the age of car you are willing to buy. This is important because cars built before about 1980 may have serious mechanical problems that would cost a large amount of money to repair. The two best ways to eliminate some of these problems are to get a competent mechanic or someone who knows cars well and perhaps has owned one similar, to go over it carefully for defects and suggest how much money it would take to make needed repairs (if possible), and then try for yourself to negotiate the price down several hundred dollars so that if major work is done, you can still come out ahead.
If you can’t manage this budget reduction successfully, reconsider your purchase; otherwise, you could be faced with a car that will majorly depreciate in value while you try to get it back on the road.
Annual Maintenance and Insurance
Another important tip is to know how much it will cost you every year for insurance as well as maintenance of your vehicle. You should be sure that you can afford these costs before making your decision because they are expenses that do not stop once you have signed a purchase contract and driven home with your new car. If you have a good bank balance, excellent credit rating, and no late payments on other forms of collateral like vehicles or homes, then getting auto financing may be less complicated than if this was not the case. In most cases, however, auto loans require some down payment plus proof of income (usually last two paychecks).
Mobile Auto Inspection
You do not need to go to an auto shop to have a car inspected. If you follow this procedure, a mobile inspector can be sent to the location of your car and save yourself from having to use up time getting it back to auto repair shops.
If possible do not buy a used car without first seeing it in person (and test driving) or at least requesting some form of clear picture documentation. When you inspect a vehicle on your own, make sure to pay attention to any signs of rust or corrosion, which can add up costs for repairs. If you have a chance to look inside the trunk, check for signs of paint that have blistered from a previously repaired accident