Brand new cars are getting more expensive and even though they offer better warranty and the latest technology, many car shoppers are looking for a more affordable option. Buying used cars can be a great alternative and a smart investment if you know how to shop for one. That is why there needs to be a lot of careful considerations for buying a used car. You can get the most out of your hard-earned money when you consider factors such as your budget, the price, the financing options, the vehicle history, mileage, insurance, and the car title.
When shopping for used cars, you need to take all the time you need. You don’t want to buy the first car you laid your eyes on. There needs to be a lot of considerations for buying a used car. You will have to compare prices, do a lot of inquiries, do pre-purchase inspections, test drives, and some negotiations. The process may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
Considerations for Buying a Used Car: What are Things to Consider When Buying a Used Car?
Many people said that buying a used car is always a gamble. While this statement can be true, it can be prevented. That is why when buying a used car, you need to consider a lot of factors. You also need to take your time and refrain from impulse buying. A lot of considerations for buying a used car are involved.
Buying used cars is getting more and more popular today since they are more affordable compared to buying brand new ones. As mentioned earlier, while it can be a gamble, since you may end up with a lemon – a term used to describe a car which turns out to have a number of defects that have an effect on its value, safety, or utility – it can be prevented. You just need to be smart in choosing the right used car for you. So you ask, what are the things you need to consider when buying a used car?
To make sure that you are not buying a car with a lot of problems, you need to know what to look for and what to expect. You need to consider some factors and you need to prepare for it.
- Your budget
One of the things you should involve with careful considerations for buying a used car is the budget. You should set aside a reasonable budget, not just for the car’s price tag but also for its future maintenance, repair and replacement costs. Experts are recommending that you should set aside at least 20 percent of used car’s price.
Setting a budget should be done to make sure that you won’t end up overspending or buying a used car on impulse. You need to plan ahead and set aside a budget to narrow down the choices and buy a used car only within that budget. When you do have set aside a budget, make sure that you adhere strictly to it.
If you are taking out a loan to finance your used car, you need to make sure that the car payment will not go more than 10 percent of your take home pay. It is better if you would spend even less when you are sticking to a tight budget since from time to time, used cars tend to need a bit of extra maintenance. You also need to consider the fuel expenses and insurance.
- Research your options
Now, when you have set aside your budget and know how much you are spending for a used car, you need to do some extensive research on your options. You will have to choose cars within your budget. Before you contact used car sellers, you need to make sure that you know what used car model you want to buy and how much it usually costs.
Do not focus on one brand if you want to save money. You can make a list of three cars that best suit your needs and are within your budget. If you are on the lookout to buy a car that is only less than five years old, you might want to choose a car that is certified pre-owned or CPO. This type of car has a long term warranty supported by the carmaker and not just the dealership that is selling it.
To make sure that you will purchase a used car with no underlying issues, you can ask for tips from your friends or relatives that have bought a used car. You can also join car forums online. Join forums that focus on the make and model of the car you intend to buy. Make use of the internet and check used car listings as well as on the newspapers’ car classifieds so you'll have an idea how much it will cost.
Once you’ve made a list of the used cars you want to purchase and have researched all about them, you then need to compare prices. You can browse through different used car websites and make a price comparison of the car you want to purchase. You might also want to check out the lowest priced used cars’ specs since they might be very old for your liking, or they have higher mileage. A used car with the lowest price is not always the best option.
- Check the mileage
When you look for a used car, one of the considerations for buying a used car is its mileage. As you do your research on the used cars you want to purchase, you should also look into their mileage and not just on the prices. Like mentioned earlier, the one with the lowest price is not always the best option. If you look closely, the used cars with the lowest prices are either very old or have a higher mileage. It could mean that these types of cars have more parts that need to be replaced sooner or later.
You need to check the car’s mileage or ask the seller about the mileage details of the car you are planning to buy. It is important since there is a connection between the mileage and the lifespan of the moving parts of the car. It is given that regular use can cause a natural wear and tear on the car’s components which needs to be replaced over time.
However, you should also be wary of cars with low mileage. Although they can be very appealing, that does not make it worth your money. Of course, low-mileage cars can mean less wear and tear than the ones with higher mileage, but cars that are rarely driven may have parts that have weakened. This is because cars are meant to be driven and not parked. You may end up buying a car that will need many repairs and reconditioning.
You should be wary of the car’s mileage and you should do your research thoroughly. Ask questions if you must. While asking for the car’s mileage is smart, you should also ask how the car is maintained.
- Check the vehicle history
Checking the vehicle history is also important. If you could get the car’s vehicle identification number or VIN, you will be able to run a vehicle history report. When you ask for the car’s VIN and the seller or dealer seems hesitant to give you the number, then better steer clear of that one. It is considered one of the red flags.
While scanning the car’s exterior and interior can give you an idea about the car’s condition, a vehicle history report will reveal the car’s rough past, if it has any. It can reveal the accident history of the car or if it has a salvage title, and even if the odometer has been rolled back.
You should plan to get a vehicle history report of the used car you are planning to buy, unless you are buying it from a close friend or relative who can give an honest history and vouch for it.
- Inspect the car’s exterior and interior thoroughly
How the car looks inside and out should be included as one of the considerations for buying a used car. You should inspect the exterior and the interior of the car you are planning to buy. Check for rust, dents, or scratches. Small scratches might not be such a big deal but the large ones are something you need to worry about. It can mean that the car has been in an accident. You also need to check the doors, hood, and trunk and try to open and close them. Try sitting in all seats and check the seatbelts, mats, and floor carpets.
A pre-purchase inspection can also make sure that you won’t be buying someone’s else’s problem. A pre-purchase inspection can be done by having a trained mechanic inspect the car before finalizing the deal. Of course, you will have to pay for the mechanic but it will be worth it since it can help you save a lot of money in the long run since you won’t have to deal with unexpected repairs and replacements.
This is one of the important things you need to consider when you are buying a used car. It can save you from a potential bad deal and also can help you make a good deal. If the mechanic you hired finds an issue with the car, you can use this information to negotiate for a lower price.
- Always do a test drive
If the used car you plan to buy has passed your inspection, then it’s good. But it doesn’t end there, you still need to test drive it. Foregoing a test drive is one common mistake made by many used car buyers and usually, when they purchase a used car without test driving it, they experience buyer’s remorse immediately after.
You should always insist on driving a car for a test before making a purchase decision. If the seller refuses to have the unit be driven for a test, then leave. A test drive can help make sure that the car is running properly.
When going for a test drive, you might want to turn the key in the ignition to the accessory setting before you start the engine. Check all the warning lights on the dashboard. If something seems off, have the issue inspected. When you hear unusual noises like clicking or tapping sounds, it could mean that there is a problem. You also need to check if the gears can shift smoothly as well as the brakes and all the electronics.
Proof of insurance is usually needed prior to closing a deal on a used car in the US. You should also take insurance as one of the considerations for buying a used car. It is ideal to look for insurance options as soon as you have narrowed down your search and have decided what car you want to buy.
If you procrastinate and only start looking for insurance when you are about to purchase, you could end up with an expensive insurance premium since you are already short on time. Just like purchasing a used car, choosing good insurance also needs time and some research so you can weigh your options properly.
You need to inquire with various insurance agencies and ask for quotes for the car options that you have selected. Compare the costs for each car you selected from each of the insurance agencies. Use the information you gathered to further narrow down your options on what car perfectly suits you.
There are a number of considerations for buying a used car. You just don’t pick the very first one you see and buy it. There are many factors you need to consider. Even if you are buying a used car, it is still considered a big investment. You need to make sure you won’t be buying another person’s problem. You need to do your research and ensure that the model you are planning to buy is reliable and has no rough history.