If you are looking to buy a used car, you are far from being alone. Between the sales of private agencies and dealerships, almost 40 million used cars exchange hands each year.
With so many options, finding the right car for you can be a challenge. So we have created a list of steps to help you find and buy your perfect used car is very easy.
You can find good used cars in a variety of places, such as private party vendors, new car dealers, and largely used car dealers.
Step 1: How many cars can you afford?
A general rule: if you are taking out a loan to pay for your car, your car payment should not be more than 20 percent of your net salary. If you stick to a tight budget, you may want to spend even less. Used cars will need a little extra attention from time to time: new tires, maintenance and the like. And then there are the other property costs that buyers sometimes forget to account for, like fuel and insurance.
If the car you plan to buy is out of warranty, it might be a good idea to reserve a fund “just in case” to cover any unexpected repairs.
Step 2: Create a list of used car goals
It’s no secret that the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry are good used cars. But they can cost a few thousand more than a comparable Ford Fusion or Kia Optima, even though these are also good. So, if you’re looking to save money, consider more than one brand. We suggest making a list of three cars that meet your needs and that are within your budget. Macmaza reviews have great information to guide your choices.
If you plan to buy a vehicle that is less than 5 years old, consider one that is certified as second-hand (CPO). CPO vehicles have long-term guarantees backed by car manufacturers, not just by the dealer that sells them. The franchisees that sell the same brand are the only ones that can sell a CPO car of the same brand. Therefore, if you want a Chevy Cruze CPO, for example, you should buy it from a Chevy dealer.
Step 3: Check Prices
Prices are driven in part by the place where you shop. You will find used cars in the used car sections of new car dealerships, independent lots for used cars, used car stores such, and websites where private sellers list their cars. Of the four, private cars will generally have the lowest sale price. The CPO cars usually cost more, but for the reasons, we have pointed out. To see what other people are paying for the models you selected, You can find a quick way to see the average price paid for the car in your area.
Step 4: Search used cars for sale in your area
An easy place to start building your list of goals is the website that provide used car inventory page. To find exactly the car you want, you can filter your search by many factors, including miles on the car’s odometer, its price and features, and dealer’s distance. Use the websites for other mentioned used car markets to save time.
Step 5: check the vehicle’s history report
Unless you are buying the car from a close friend or family member who can answer your history, plan to obtain a vehicle history report. This is an essential first step. If the car you are looking at has a bad history report, the sooner you know it, the better.
AutoCheck and Carfax are the two best-known sources for vehicle history reports, which can reveal vital information about the car, including if the odometer has been removed or if it has a salvage title, meaning that a loss has been declared Total by the insurance company You will use the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car to obtain this information, and in some cases, all you need is the registration number.
Step 6: contact the seller
Once you find a good prospective car, do not miss it. Call the seller first. This is a good way to establish a relationship with the seller and verify the information of the car. You can ask private sellers why they say goodbye to a car or if they have a mechanical problem. And if you’re buying from a dealership, a phone call (or text) is the best way to make sure the car is still in stock.
Sometimes, the seller will mention something that was not in the advertisement that could change his decision to buy the car. If you want to go deeper, Edmund used car questionnaire is a good reminder of what to ask. You will notice that the last question on our list is the sale price of the car. Although many people are tempted to negotiate even before they have seen the car, it is better to wait. Once you see the car, you can link your offer to your condition.
If things go well, schedule an appointment to test the car. If possible, do it during the day. That makes it easier to see the condition of the car.
Step 7: Test: drive the car
Doing a test drive on a used car is the best way to know if this is the right make and model for you. It is also a good way to evaluate the state of this particular automobile. So disconnect the distractions and concentrate on the car. Here are some things to check:
- Is it easy to get in and out of the car without bending over or hitting your head?
- Is there enough room for the head, the hip room, and the legs? Remember to see how they feel in the backseat, too.
- Is the driving position comfortable? Do you feel too low, too high or just in the car? Can you tilt or telescope the steering wheel for a better fit?
- Are the seats comfortable? Are they easily adjustable? Is there a lumbar support adjustment for the driver? How about the passenger in the front seat?
- Do you see a light on “check the engine”? If so, review that problem before buying.
- How is the visibility? Check the rear-view mirror and side mirrors. Look for possible blind spots.
- Use your nose Do you smell gas, burn oil, or something weird?
- Look at the tires. How old are they? Is there enough footprint left?
- How are the brakes? Are you doing the job of stopping the car? Do they squeak?
- Pop the hood. You do not need to know a lot about cars to see if something seems to be wrong. If something is leaking, smoking or covered in oil, it’s time to ask questions.
- Does the air conditioning blow cold? Do the headlights, brake lights and turn signals work? Try them to be sure.
After the test run, ask the owner or distributor if they can see the service records. These will show you if the car has had scheduled maintenance done on time.
Step 8: have the car inspected
If you like the car, consider having it inspected by a mechanic before buying it. If you do not have a mechanic, Google and Yelp are good places to read reviews of local stores. A pre-purchase inspection costs around $ 100 and can alert you to problems you may not find. It is an intelligent investment.
A private seller will probably allow you to do this without much resistance. Most dealers will allow you to borrow a car for inspection by an outside mechanic. You’ll pay for the inspection, of course. If it is a CPO car, an inspection has already been carried out and there is a guarantee, so there is little reason to take it to a mechanic.
Step 9: Negotiate a good deal
Does the idea of “talking about numbers” fill you with fear? Should not. Negotiating does not have to be a prolonged traumatic experience. If it is reasonable and you have a plan, you can probably reach an agreement quickly and easily:
- Decide in advance how much you are willing to spend to get the car. But do not start with this number in your discussion.
- Make an opening bid lower than your maximum price, but in the stadium based on your average price research paid in Step 3. Explain that you have done research in car review website or elsewhere, so that you have data to support your bid .
- If you and the seller arrive at a price that seems right and close to the average price paid, you are probably in good shape.
- And remember, people on the other side probably hate to negotiate too (even if it’s their job).
Step 10: do the paperwork
If you are at a dealership, you must sign the contract in the finance and insurance office. There, you are likely to be offered additional items, such as a guarantee, anti-theft devices, prepaid service plans or fabric protection.
Some people want the peace of mind offered by extended warranties, so it’s something you may want to consider (unless the car is still under the manufacturer’s warranty or a CPO vehicle). Review the dealership sale contract thoroughly. In most states, it lists the cost of the vehicle, a documentation fee, possibly a small charge for a smog certificate, sales taxes and license fees.
If you are buying a car from an individual owner, make sure that the seller correctly transfers the title and registration. It is important to close the deal correctly to avoid problems after the sale. Before the money changes hands, apply for the title (sometimes called the pink receipt) and have the seller sign it. The rules governing the registration and licensing of vehicles vary from state to state. If possible, check with your local motor vehicle department to make sure there are no overdue registration fees for which you would be responsible if you bought the car. Whether you shop at a dealership or at a private party, make sure you have car insurance before you take it.
Once you have done the documentation, it is time to celebrate your new purchase, perhaps with a dinner at the drive-in. You deserve it!