Even when the trunk is empty, a used car comes with an awful lot of baggage. There most likely won’t be a warranty, and any mechanical or aesthetic issues become your problem the second you sign the paperwork. So, how do you protect yourself from the worst case scenario? There are a few things that you can do to lessen the chance that you are buying a lemon.
You need to protect yourself from the beginning. The best used car buying tip we can offer is to do your homework. Get an idea of what kind of car you want. Do more research into pricing to learn both how much you can honestly afford and how much you would have to pay.
Keep in mind that the monthly expenses of owning a car involve more than just your car payment. You will have to pay for gas and car insurance. Car dealerships will be hesitant to sell to someone who does not have car insurance.
Another used car buying tip is to not go to the first car lot you see. Many used car lots might not have your best interest at heart. You will be better off doing your homework and researching online. Several sites are reputable and will prove to be excellent in meeting your needs. These days, most used car lots list their inventory on the various internet sites.
Once you do find the right vehicle for your needs, you will want to negotiate for the best possible price. Knowledge is power. The more that you know about the vehicle you want, the better equipped you will be to negotiate the best deal. The Kelley Blue Book is the authority on the matter of vehicle pricing. Their book, whether in a paperback version or on their website, is where you need to go to find the price ranges for every model and every year. They also offer differing prices for different conditions of each vehicle.
Once you are at your appointment armed with the information you will need to make an informed decision, make sure you carefully look at the vehicle. Are there any scratches in the paint? Is there oil or other fluids underneath the vehicle? When you open the hood, does the engine appear to be clean? Use negative answers to your advantage during negotiations. While the larger dealerships might consider their prices the lowest possible, you should be able to bring the price down with smaller dealerships and private parties.
A Certified Pre-Owned car is a used car that is usually less than five years old with less than 100,000 miles on the odometer. The vehicle will have gone through manufacturer’s testing, been certified by a technician, and will come with a limited warranty. Anything that might have been wrong with the vehicle when it was traded in will be fixed to manufacturer specifications. They will usually have some sort of manufacturer’s seal of approval and come with a higher price tag. You will only be able to purchase one of these cars from a dealership.
With a used car, you will only be able to get a warranty if the car is within the original warranty parameters and if the warranty is fully transferable. These used cars will not carry a manufacturer’s certification.
The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is one of the most important pieces of information when it comes to used cars. With the VIN, you will be able to run a vehicle history report. This report will tell you important information that includes how many owners the vehicle has had and how many accidents it has suffered.
Many dealerships and most of the larger internet shopping sites will offer access to vehicle history reports. If you are going through a private party, you will want to run the VIN through CARFAX to obtain the report.
Autobytel is a highly reputable site to access when you are looking for a used car. The site provides exhaustive research, VIN verification, insurance, and car loans. Like some of the others, they have affordability and car payment calculators. They will also have links for car insurance and some car loan companies.
You have surely seen the publication available by the exit of most supermarkets and many other stores, but it is far more than the time-tested free newspaper. It helps you make an informed decision. The site provides reviews of popular used cars, an affordability calculator, research, and information on different models. There are also links to insurance companies as well as tools to help you properly value the vehicle you wish to purchase.
Carmax is a really good site for looking at used cars for sale. They stand behind their sales and offer a warranty for every car sold. They have various tools such as the payment calculator. They also have a fuel efficiency calculator, and they offer links to used car loans.
The Cars.com site not only has large databases of both new and used cars for sale, but they also are set up to guide customers through the more tedious processes related to car shopping. The site offers a loan calculator which is an exceptional tool for helping the consumer figure out exactly how much money they will need to buy their car. The calculator factors in various transportation costs such as gas and insurance. This website also has links to the best places for you to find your used car loan.
The good thing about Craigslist is that they always have used cars for sale from private parties and the occasional small used car dealership. Be careful, though. Some of the cars that appear on Craigslist will not pass emissions. However, there are many honest deals on Craigslist as well.
It’s usually a good sign if the seller gives you the VIN without question. Every dealership and most private parties will be forthcoming with this information.
E-bay Motors has a selection of classic cars, collectible cars, and more traditional modes of transportation. Their site is divided by the various makes of cars. No extra information is readily accessible on the main site, and there is no guarantee that you might find the vehicle you want within easy distance from your home.
This site is very similar to Cars.com. It includes similar articles and a large database that is updated by local companies that will add their inventory. This site only offers used vehicles. Many of their ads come from dealerships who can even offer limited warranties for previously owned vehicles that are not too old and still have low mileage.
Some cars will depreciate faster than others, while some seem to hold their value for much longer than others. A lot of this is based on supply and demand. A car that is considered to be in high demand will hold its value for more years than cars that have more of a specialty buyers market. Those cars that are deemed to be more reliable will hold their value longer than those with a different reputation.
The brands on this list are considered to be those that will hold their value the longest.
Cars.com offers the following as their top recommendations for purchasing a used vehicle.
The best used cars ranked by their fuel economy are:
The most comprehensive rankings when it comes to both new and used cars can be found at Consumer Reports. Each year they publish a car buying guide that will provide you with the best and latest information available on both new and older models.
Purchasing a used car will save you a substantial amount of money as opposed to purchasing a new car, but even a used car can prove to be expensive. Many people will choose to finance their used car, although even those who will write you a loan will expect a down payment of a varying percentage of the total price. If your credit is less than perfect, lenders may request a larger down payment than they would from someone with good credit. Lenders might also charge a higher interest rate to those with less than perfect credit.
Traditional financing options include credit unions, banks, savings and loans, and dealerships. Dealerships and online sites such as Autotrader, Autobytel, and Cars.com provide links that make it easy for you to look for your used car loan. Smaller used car dealers will usually offer very high-interest car loans for those who are unable to obtain a loan from more traditional lenders.
It is illegal for you to drive a car that is uninsured. Shopping for car insurance does not have to be intimidating in any way. You may pay less to insure a used car than you would pay to insure a new car. You will still have to make some important decisions when insuring your vehicle.
Full comprehensive insurance will be more expensive than simple liability insurance. If you have a loan, you will most likely be required to carry full comprehensive insurance. If the car is older, then there will come a point in time when comprehensive insurance is no longer an option, and basic liability insurance will be the only type made available to you.
Make sure that you protect yourself by including uninsured motorist coverage. That way, if you are in an accident with another party who does not carry car insurance, damage to your vehicle and injury to you will still be covered even if you only have liability insurance.