In most cities in America, it’s impossible to live without a car. Our cars become something of our second homes, somewhere we spend many hours as we move from place to place.
Unfortunately, automobiles can often be quite expensive. Buying a new car can be a huge investment and one that many American families struggle to figure out how to afford. One way to help mitigate the great cost of driving is by buying a used car instead of a new one.
Used cars can sell for a great deal lower than brand new vehicles. But how can you make sure you’re still getting a quality vehicle? What’s the best way to save the largest amount of cash? Read on and we’ll walk you through what to look for in a used car.
1. Think About Your Needs Ahead Of Time
It can take a little bit of work and research to land on the perfect used car for you. There are many factors to understand and think about before signing on the dotted line. The time to think about these factors is early: the last thing you want is to be first weighing the pros and cons of a certain feature when you have a salesman in your ear.
You know your own life better than anyone. Take the time to make a list of what requirements your dream car needs to meet. If you have a big family, how much space do you need? If you like heading out to the woods for a long weekend, do you need four-wheel drive?
Keeping a list of these needs can help save you time and ensure you get a vehicle that will fit into the fold of your life. If you want to go above and beyond, you actually prioritize and rank this list. Since the cars you look at may not have everything you want, it’s important to know what’s truly essential and what you can let go.
2. Consider Other Costs Of Ownership
Buying a used car can be a great way to save a huge deal of cash. The only situation where this is not true is if you purchase a used car that requires frequent repairs and maintenance.
The older a vehicle gets, the more likely such work will be required. An older vehicle will also likely have an elapsed warranty, meaning the full price of any repairs or replacement pieces will fall on your shoulders.
The fact that you’re getting an older car is obviously part of why you’re getting such an amazing deal to begin with. But if you go too far in this direction, you might end up spending as much as you would on a brand new vehicle.
It’s also worth noting that certain types of cars will be more expensive to maintain in general. Sports and luxury cars are notoriously expensive to maintain, even early on their lifetimes. Their high-performance engines can be quite expensive and many come with gadgets and tools that are high in cost as well.
These cars will also likely have higher insurance rates and worse gasoline efficiency. It’s important to factor all of these costs into your long-term financial plan. The initial asking price for a used vehicle is only part of the price. Planning for these other costs can help you make a more intelligent decision.
3. Don’t Be Stubborn
What is the trait that does most used car buyers in? Stubbornness. Some potential buyers get so set on a certain number of traits for their vehicle that they let some truly unbelievable bargains pass by.
No one is suggesting that you should settle for a vehicle that you don’t like. But if you can keep an open mind to new things, many opportunities might present themselves. A brand or model that you didn’t initially consider might end up being the perfect car for you.
Used car shopping can present you with many options. If you can keep an open mind to what comes up, you may be able to lock in something faster and with more money in your own pocket.
Many car dealers are eager to have buyers in, presenting a strong ‘shop our used cars‘ attitude. Return this attitude by keeping an open mind when it comes to what they may have available.
4. Obtain A Valuation For The Car
If you’re looking to buy a used car, you should get all the information on your side that you can. The more info you have, the better position you’ll be in as a potential buyer. Obtaining a valuation of the vehicle in question can be one of the best moves, then, that you can take.
There are many online valuation tools that allow you to enter information about the car and then receive an approximate cash value. Most of these valuation tools are free to use, and only require some form of quick identification or registration.
A valuation will let you know if the asking price for the vehicle is too high, too low, or right on the money. Even an asking price that is far too low can be cause for concern, because it may mean something greater is wrong with the vehicle.
Having a valuation can help you to barter and ask the questions you need answers to.
What To Look For In A Used Car
Buying a used vehicle can save you loads of money if done right. If you know what to look for in a used car, you can secure a deal that could save you thousands.
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