Used Car Buying Tips
Do you enjoy what it feels like to drive a new-to-you car? Picture this, you are behind the wheel of a different car for the first time in years. You are enjoying a newer model with modern features without paying the ridiculous “new car” price tag. The car is newer than your current model, more affordable than a brand new vehicle, and you were able to secure the best deal possible.
That’s the powerful feeling every well-informed used car buyer experiences when driving home for the first time. No second guessing, no buyer’s remorse, and the peace-of-mind of knowing the car’s true condition.
Don’t buy a lemon. The few things you should know as a "used car buyer" are:
1. Do Your Homework before buying a Used Car
Always look for a car matching your needs and budget when browsing the used car market. This process helps narrow your list down while providing a general comparison between some of your available options.
Perhaps you already have a certain type of car or a specific budget for your next used car purchase, but you are not sure what the next step is. Once you narrow your list down to a handful of serious cars under consideration, conduct extensive market research on pricing. Include important variables, such as dealership versus private party price comparisons, while making a special note of how many miles each car has on the odometer.
Continue learning about the general condition of the vehicle. Although it is impossible to get a clear picture of the car’s condition without an up-close inspection, take notes of any obvious issues when looking at photos or reading seller descriptions.
The next step involves conducting research on any typical or potential reliability issues with the specific year and model of the used cars you are considering buying. This will provide you with some valuable foreknowledge into understanding what to look for or ask the seller about.
Now that you have done some basic homework, you still need to get some of your ducks in a row before you are actually ready to buy. Having success while buying a used car is about obtaining the right information, knowing how to use that data to find a good deal, and leveraging what you know into gaining the upper hand while negotiating with the seller.
2. Line Up Financing Options Before Test Driving
Okay, so you have done some basic homework on the used car market while considering a handful of options, but it is still not quite time to schedule a test drive. Whether you are looking at the private party Cragslist used car selection or considering an option from an Autotrader used dealership listing, having a clear idea of your financing status is an important step.
Discussing financing options with your bank or lending institution will help you gain insight into the interest rate you can expect to pay, the term or length of the loan, and what you can expect your monthly payment to be. Now you have the information you need to make an educated decision while being able to compare financing options elsewhere, if you choose to do so.
A common mistake many new or used car buyers make is heading straight to the dealership when they make up their mind. It is never a good idea to go to a car dealership without having some outside-of-the-dealership financing options to back you up.
Once you are in the door, a good car salesman will have an easier time pushing active shoppers to consider or accept typical dealership lending options with higher interest rates. Know what to expect from another lending institution so you can compare it with any financing options the dealership may be able to offer you.
Even if the car is for sale by owner via a private party listing, have your financing options in place before going to look at the car. It is one less thing to worry about once you do find the right car for you. Once you do have some potential financing options in place, you can consider scheduling a test drive if the car is local.
Many used car shoppers browse out-of-state listings. You may be wondering how you are going to schedule a test drive or get a good idea of the car’s overall condition. Don’t worry, there is still hope for you.
You can always test drive the same make and model of car from a local seller to see if you like how it feels behind the wheel. Getting an independent used car inspection is the next step no matter where the car you actually want to buy is.
3. Pre-Purchase Vehicle Inspection
Whether the car is local or not, making sure the actual vehicle you want to purchase passes a pre-purchase inspection checklist is even more important than scheduling a test drive. Third party vehicle inspection companies are the only way to go, never have the same dealership you want to purchase a car from provide you with an inspection report. Keep reading to learn why you may want to hire a car inspector before scheduling a test drive.
The only thing worse than getting a bad deal when buying a used car is ending up with a broken down piece of junk. Believe it or not, you can avoid this nightmare from happening to you with a comprehensive lemon car inspection.
Many used car buyers believe that combining a simple CarFax™ Vehicle History Report with Kelley Blue Book Used Car Values will tell them the full story. The truth is, you need more than just a vehicle history report and car market values to know how valuable a specific car is. Every car has its own heartbeat and many factors can affect a vehicle’s overall health. You need to know more about the car’s maintenance history, how hard the previous owner was driving the car and so much more.
Used Car Inspection Checklist:
A used Car Inspection Checklist is a wise option when you want value for money. To avoid the risk of ending up with a used car that’s going to leave you stranded - we suggest inspecting it well - on your own and/or asking for a professional used car inspection. Learn More
Although a vehicle history report is very important, it only tells you a small part of the car’s story. A complete comprehensive car inspection will reveal the true condition of the car to you. CarDr.com even offers mobile car inspection packages with a full CarFax™ Vehicle History Report to give you a clear picture of the car’s health and background, with doctor-like precision.
Since you need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to check a car’s history, this is a good time to see if the seller or dealership provides that information online. Once you are ready to schedule a test drive, if the car is local, make sure the title exists and matches the VIN.
NOTE: You can usually see the VIN from the exterior of the car through the windshield. It is often in the lower corner on the driver’s side.
Whether the car is local or not, having an independent used car inspection service look at the vehicle you want to buy is the key to getting the most value from your asset for years to come. Not all used car check services are equal.
The best pre-purchase car inspection company provides real-time order status updates while putting the most advanced pre-owned car inspection artificial intelligence into the hands of experienced auto inspector experts. CarDr.com monitors the heartbeat of cars while providing buyers with a complete picture of the car’s overall health.
Gaining valuable insight into a used car’s mechanical condition, backed by CarDr’com’s On-Board-Diagnostic (OBD) data, puts the buying power back into the hands of consumers. Best of all, CarDr.com’s mobile vehicle inspections are available anywhere.
From car dealerships to driveway car inspections nationwide, a CarDr.com housecall will help you get to know every car you buy, before driving it home.
One of the worst feelings in the world is breaking down on the side of the road in a used car, or feeling like you have a lemon in the garage instead of reliable transportation. CarDr.com’s expert inspectors will squeeze the juice out of any lemon to provide you with the information you need to know before buying the car.
By accessing the vehicle’s actual heartbeat, along with the overall car condition inside-and-out, you will be able to avoid lemons. Knowing a car’s true condition will also allow you to haggle with any seller over the fine print when you do find a good buy. CarDr.com’s remote vehicle inspection service provides you with everything you need to know before purchasing a used car.
An important tip to remember is that everything is negotiable when buying a used car. Having the right information puts you in the driver’s seat during the negotiation process, knowing how to use that data will get you a better deal.
4. Avoid Trading Your Current Car In At The Dealership If Possible
You probably have a vehicle you are ready to move on from if you are shopping for a used car. Some people trade in their current car because they do not want to deal with trying to sell it on their own, but they are leaving a lot of money on the table. Sometimes sellers can make hundreds to thousands of dollars more by simply selling their car through a private party listing.
Many used car dealerships are able to haggle trade-in customers out of a lot of money. They do a quick inspection, find a few things wrong with the car, and then convince the person trading the car in that it needs a lot of repairs before selling it.
The unassuming consumer, more like the victim, usually has no idea the car needs this much maintenance. As a result, they accept less money trading the car in while thinking they are avoiding a major headache.
Well, if a doctor says you need major surgery, wouldn’t you want a second opinion first?
Of course, you would. That’s why the first step to selling your car is understanding what condition your car is actually in.
Even if you do not know the condition or true value of your car, you can potentially make a lot more money from selling your current vehicle as a private seller. Using a car inspection company to reveal your current car’s condition puts you in the best seat at the negotiation table.
Data-driven decisions are fueling the future, you can also use them to save money and get a better deal when shopping for a car. CarDr.com introduces the future of buying used cars to you. Get more car for your money without worrying about a lemon with CarDr.com.