The following is a guest blog post by David at CarUnderstanding:
You’re thinking of buying a car. You’d want to have the luxury of traveling to places without relying on others. You’d want to bring your family or friends on a road trip or on vacation.
The problem is, a new car does not fit into your budget.
The good news is, you can purchase a used car. However, purchasing a used car may not be as easy as it seems. You’d have to do some careful planning and research to make sure you get the best value for your car. Plus, you don’t want to end up with a car that runs on too many expenses, right?
By the end of this article, you will have a better idea of what it takes to buy a used car. We’ll discuss the mistakes to avoid when buying a used car. Just make sure to avoid these, and you’ll be good to go.
Mistake # 1: Not Knowing What You Want
Create a shopping list. List down what models you prefer. It would also be a good idea to write down your requirements for a car. Make sure to factor your needs. Do you have kids? How many are you in the family? What are your usual routes? What safety accessories are you looking for? These questions are crucial in helping you come up with a list. You don’t want to end up buying a car that you don’t need.
Mistake # 2: Not Doing Enough Research
Yes, research. Think of it as your homework. You need to make sure you know what you’re getting. After creating your list, check out the price list. Edmunds.com gives you an idea of car pricing whether used or brand new. Cars.com allows you to compare car models. Compare the prices as well as the features.
On an added note, search within 5 miles of your area and look for sellers. Don’t buy from sellers that are too far from where you live as there may be additional taxes. Also, it should be easy for you to go to the place so you can communicate with the seller and inspect the car.
Now is also a good time to research on financing deals. Scour the market and contact banks or credit unions to pick the best financing option that’s easy on the budget. You may as well research on car insurance, too.
Mistake # 3: Rushing to Buy the Car
Many people make the mistake of making the deal once they see a car that they like. Don’t fall in love with the car just because you love the shiny new paint or the awesome sound system. Make a thorough inspection first. Don’t be blinded by the external features. It doesn’t mean that if the car looks new on the outside means the interior and engine look the same. Ask the dealer questions. Take your time.
Mistake # 4: Skipping the Test Drive and Inspection
Once you have found a car that you like, communicate with the seller for a visit. You may bring a car expert with you to help you check out the engine. Ask permission to take it out for a test drive. Take note of factors such as the sound of the engine, the air conditioner, the dashboard lights, and how comfortable you are driving it.
How long does a car inspection take? No more than a few minutes. Perform a thorough car inspection and check under the hood. Watch out for signs of rust or corrosion on the engine and other metal parts. A well-maintained car does not only look clean on the outside but on the inside, too.
Check the mileage against the age of the car. Don’t be afraid to purchase high mileage cars. This means that the car has been tried and tested. However, you should be wary of other signs if the car has high mileage. Well-kept cars still run smoothly even though they have high mileage.
Mistake # 5: Establish a Good Relationship with the Seller
Establishing a good relationship with the seller allows you to establish trust. It will be easier to communicate with the seller and ask questions. How old is the car? Why are you selling it? How often do you take it out for servicing? These are some of the questions that will elicit an honest answer if you’re in good terms with the seller.
It will also be easier to communicate with the seller after sales. In case there will be problems, you could also give the seller a call.
Mistake # 6: Going Over Your Budget
Don’t forget to set budget. You still have other expenses to consider AFTER you purchase the car. Don’t think in terms of monthly payment. Consider the total price of the car along with insurance, maintenance, fuel, car cleaning, fees, and taxes. Remember, you are buying a used car because you don’t have the budget for a brand new one. If the expenses would be equal to a brand new car, then go get one instead.
Mistake # 7: Forgetting the Paper Trail
Before you drive off with your new purchase make sure you have all the documents with you. A certificate of transfer or deed of sale proves that you are the new car owner. Ask for the insurance papers, maintenance receipts, warranty for parts, and other receipts related to the car. These documents would give you an idea of how much maintenance the car needs. This paper trail will save you from incurring additional costs when it comes to repairs or maintenance.
Mistake # 8: Not Checking the Vehicle’s History
Once you spot a car that you like, obtain the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) or license plate number and run a check. The VIN shows you service history, ownership, and if the car has been involved in traffic violations or mishaps. Don’t go for a car that has been passed down from owner to owner. You don’t want a vehicle that has been involved in too many bad situations, do you?
Owning a car is both a privilege and a luxury. If owning a car makes life easier for you, then go for it. There are a lot of used cars that are still of good quality. You just have to be diligent in doing your homework and planning so it doesn’t become a headache.
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