Tips and tricks for buying a good second hand (used) car: 10 steps to follow

Discussion in 'Buying & Selling Cars' started by Muzimbo, Jun 5, 2017.

View Users: View Users
  1. Muzimbo

    Muzimbo RANK: MAHOBHO

    May 23, 2017
    Loyalty Points:
    Warning level:
    How To Find and Buy a Good Used Car

    You can find good used cars in a variety of places, such as private-party sellers, new-car dealerships and used-car superstores.

    The following steps will tell you how to locate, price and negotiate to buy the used car you want. If you don't yet know what car to buy, read "10 Steps to Finding the Right Car for You" and then come back after you have decided.

    Step 1: How Much Car Can You Afford?
    A general guideline is that your monthly car payment should not be more than 20 percent of your take-home pay. However, people shop for cars with their hearts as well as their heads, and that can be a little dangerous. Avoid getting in over your head when you buy a car. Some online car buying calculators help you find an estimated price range in which to shop and will even suggest some cars that would fit your budget. Here's more information on how to set up your automotive budget.

    Step 2: Build a Target List of Used Cars
    Avoid buying unique cars such as Mitshubishi EK wagon. These little known cars will give you serious problems when servicing them or when buying spare parts. Brake pads wear and tear as you use the car, accidents do happen unexpectedly and you would need to replace the damaged parts with new one. That's where this advice comes into play. a common vehicle has spare parts all over the country.

    Step 3: Check Prices and Reviews
    You first need to see if the cars you are looking at fit into your budget. Some websites even show you what other people are paying for that car in your area. When you select a car through the Appraise a Used Car tool, it takes you to the gateway of all the information you need to make a good buying decision: pricing, reviews, specs, fuel economy and lists of standard features . Also, find out and learn what other ownership expenses you are likely to incur.

    Step 4: Locate Used Cars for Sale in Your Area
    There are, of course, many places to shop for a used car, such as independent used car lots, the used car section of a new car dealership and, more recently, used car superstores. Some of them, make it easy to search its inventory to find a good used car to buy at a no-haggle price. You can even search for your preferred car on car sale websites or local newspaper.

    Step 5: Check the Vehicle History Report
    Before you contact a used-car seller, you should get a vehicle history report for the car you're interested in buying. This is an essential first step: If the report is negative, you should not go any further with this car.

    You can access vehicle history reports, which are sold by several different companies, by the vehicle identification number (VIN) and even by license plate. AutoCheck and Carfax are the two best-known sources for vehicle history reports. These reports can reveal vital information about the used car, including whether it has a salvage title, which means it has been declared a total loss by the insurance company, or if the odometer has been rolled back.

    Step 6: Contact the Seller
    Once you find a good prospective car, call the seller before you go to see the vehicle. This is a good way to establish a relationship with the seller and verify the information in the ad. Sometimes the seller will mention something that wasn't in the ad that might change your decision to buy the car. Have our Used Car Question Sheet handy when you're calling to prompt you to ask key questions. You will notice that the last question is the asking price. Although many people are tempted to negotiate even before they have seen the car, it's better to wait. Once you see the car, you can tie your offer to its condition level.

    If, after talking to the seller, you are still interested in buying the car, set up an appointment for a test-drive. If possible, make this appointment during the daytime so you can see the car in natural lighting and more accurately determine its condition.

    Step 7: Test-Drive the Car
    Test-driving a used car not only tells you if this is the right car for you but also if this particular car is in good condition. On the test-drive, simulate the conditions of your normal driving patterns. If you do a lot of highway driving, be sure to take the car up to at least 65 mph. If you regularly go into the mountains, test the car on a steep slope. For more on what details to look for, read "How to Test-Drive a Car."

    After the test-drive, ask the owner or dealer if you can see the service records to learn if the car has had the scheduled maintenance performed on time. Avoid buying a car that has been in a serious accident or has had major repairs such as transmission rebuilds, valve jobs or engine overhauls.

    Step 8: Have the Car Inspected
    If you like the way the car drives, you should have it inspected before you negotiate to buy it. A pre-purchase inspection can save you thousands of dollars. You can take the car to a trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection or request a mobile inspection. A private party will probably allow you to do this without much resistance. But at a dealership, it might be more difficult. If it is a CPO car, there is no reason to take it to a mechanic.

    Step 9: Negotiate Your Best Deal
    Negotiating with a private-party seller can be a quick and fairly relaxed process. Negotiating with a used-car salesman will take longer and can be stressful. Here are some basics about negotiating.

    * Only enter into negotiations with a salesperson or private-party seller with whom you feel comfortable.
    * Make an opening offer that is low, but in the ballpark based on your TMV research in Step 3.
    * Decide ahead of time how high you will go and leave when you reach your limit.
    * Always be prepared to walk out: This is your strongest negotiating tool.
    * Be patient. Plan to spend an hour negotiating in a dealership , and less time for private parties.
    * Leave the dealership if you get tired or hungry.
    * Don't be distracted by dealer pitches for related items such as extended warranties or anti-theft devices.

    Step 10: Close the Deal
    If you are at a dealership, you'll conclude the deal in the finance and insurance (F&I) office. If you are buying a car from a private party, you just have to make sure that payment is final and that the seller properly transfers title and registration to you. In any case, it's important to close the deal so you avoid after-sale hassles.

    In both cases, you also need to make sure you have insurance for the car you just bought before you drive it away. Also, the F&I person will probably try to sell you a number of additional items: an additional warranty, anti-theft devices, prepaid service plans or fabric protection. Some people want the peace of mind that comes with extended warranties, so this is something you might want to consider (unless your used car is certified or still under the manufacturer's warranty).

    Review the dealership sales contract thoroughly. In most cases, it should list the cost of the vehicle, a documentation fee, possibly a small charge for a smog certificate, tax and license fees.

    When you buy a car from a private party, either pay cash or provide a cashier's check. But before money changes hands, request the title (sometimes called the pink slip) and have the seller sign it over to you. Rules governing vehicle registration and licensing vary from country to country.

    Once all of the paperwork is complete, it is finally time to relax and begin enjoying your new purchase: a good used car.

Share This Page