Buying a Used Car

Shopping for used cars at one time was a nightmare but not anymore! You’ll find some incredible deals and with doing your research you are in the driver’s seat to get the car you want with the best deal possible. With the internet, there are so many tools available to you like online listings, car comparisons, and vehicle history that makes buying a used car much easier. 

Buying a used car instead of a new one will save you money. When you buy a new car the moment you drive it off the lot its already worth less than you paid for it. You can save thousands of dollars by letting someone else be the first owner and take the hit on the loss. 

Getting an Auto Loan 

Get pre-approved for an auto loan before you start shopping for a car. This way you know how much you can spend on your used car and what the monthly payments will be. It doesn’t make sense to shop and do a bunch of research until you know how much you can spend. It’s smart to get preapproved for an auto loan because it simplifies the process and puts you in a much stronger position to negotiate with the car dealership 

Choosing the Right Car 

Let the fun begin…What is your top priority? Think about what you will use the car for. Do you have kids and need something larger to take them to baseball practice? Or, do you need a car with good gas mileage because you commute to work every day and put a lot of miles on your 

vehicle? Sit down and make a list of features you need in your car. Once you have narrowed down your needs you can do a car comparison and look at online reviews 

Find Good Used Cars 

There are so many websites that list used cars. Here are a few to check out. 

Carfax gives you a FREE CARFAX Report. You can also search for a used car by, no accidents or damaged reported and only one owner. CarGurus allows you to filter year, make, model and price range and features. They also give you the option to search by Deal Ratings like a great deal, fair deal and even overpriced. CarMax is an online used car superstore with over 200 locations and has a large inventory with no-haggle pricing. 

Know the Law 

In general, when you buy a used car, there should be a vehicle history. If the used car is fairly new, then it may still be under a warranty, which comes with a document. In addition, there should also be a full record of the used car’s past: previous owners, routine maintenance checks, any accidents that may have happened, repairs, etc. There must be a vehicle identification number (VIN), which comes along with the make, year and model of the car. 

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) direct hotline, 1-888-327-4236, that can be used to validate the VIN number, can be contacted. Alternatively, you can enter the VIN into the official web site, to see if there are any problems. 

Used Car’s Value 

In the United States, there are a number of independent bodies that can help you check the value of your potential purchase. These include the Kelley Blue Book and guides from the National Automotive Dealers Association. 

What Needs to be Checked for a Used Car 

A reputable general dealer or a specific car dealership must check all of the following key areas when you wish to buy a used car: 

● Check all the tires including the spare. Look at the wear across the tire to see if it is even. If not, then the car is out of balance. Check the tire treads to see if it is sufficient and if it covers legal requirements. 

● Look at the overall balance of the car. If it is tilting on one side, there may be a problem with the suspension. 

● Drive belts inside the engine should not be cracked. The radiator hose should be hard. 

● There should not be any leaks in the head gasket. A leak can be seen when the residual foam is present in the oil filter. 

Before you Purchase a Used Car

Remember, you are buying a used car and it might not have a warranty. Take it to an independent mechanic and have it checked out. If the dealer will not allow you to do this than pass on the car because they might be hiding something. 

Organizations, such as the AAA in the United States, will give you a list of reliable mechanics and dealers who can check your vehicle and will give you an independent opinion. 

Happy Shopping and Enjoy the Process! 



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