Check out the car you want before you buy it:
Most used cars have some sort of problem or incident that may be a problem down the road. Get a history report from one of the online companies that offer history information about the car you want. If you cannot get a history report on the particular car you are trying to buy, like in real estate, “buyer beware”. A vehicle history report (before you buy) may save you hundreds of dollars.
Be sure to get a history report from an online company such as carfax or autocheck, there are others so do some research. These companies usually update their data bases on reviews of the latest information and techniques on car maintenance and repairs. You will need the (VIN) Vehicle Identification Number and you might also have a garage put it on a lift and inspect the underneath of the vehicle. A mechanic can put the car on a lift and usually spot crash damage, repairs not easily seen and possible leak stains that have been wiped clean.
Know What You Are Getting Into:
No matter where you live in this country, find out all you can about the vehicle you want to buy. Cars get shipped all over this country, and your new purchase may have come from an area that went through a flood or hurricane. That car may have been damaged from flood waters, cleaned up, replaced the mats, etc. and in a few months you have a rust bucket.
Try and get an extended warranty if you are a little uneasy about the report, but really want that car. The car may still be in the manufactures warranty and you can purchase an extended warranty when theirs expires. There are private companies that offer these warranties besides the dealers. Make sure you know what the warranty covers.
Pay The Correct Price For Your Vehicle:
Vehicle prices are set pretty much set like an appraisal on a house. Compare the asking price to other vehicles in the same class and with the same options that have sold in the past few months. Check the newspaper for dealer prices and vehicle owners selling their own used cars. You may also check online and on ebay to see what prices are like. Remember prices are usually close no matter which part of the country you live in. They may vary a little, but not much. Also check Kelly’s Blue Book for prices on the condition and with the options, of the vehicle you are trying to purchase.
Make sure you test drive the vehicle on the open road at a good speed, check the braking and turning of the car. Make sure all the accessories are working to your satisfaction. Once you purchase it, it’s yours. There is no 3 day trial period or if you are not happy bring it back for a refund. IT’S YOURS, SO BE SURE IT’S THE ONE YOU WANT.
Buy Within Your Budget:
Assess your lifestyle and get the type of vehicle you need, not necessarily the type of vehicle you want. Example: SUV’s are fine for active enthusiasts, but most soccer moms will probably find a minivan more useful. Safety and functionally should be your major concern. Don’t go for a sports car as a status symbol, if you really need a pickup truck. Check the crash test results of the vehicle you are looking at buying, if they are not very good, look for a different make of vehicle. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety usually has the most current information, they even feature safety data on older vehicles, which lets you assess used ones also.
Other Important Considerations:
Gas Mileage: Gas mileage results are listed on the window stickers of all new vehicles. The current high-mileage leaders are the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, averaging around 45 to 50 miles per gallon. Compare the statistics. With gasoline averaging $2.75 to $3.75 a gallon, and the average driver traveling 15,000 to 20,000 miles in a year, the savings are very important. Most SUV’s are gas guzzlers, so stick with a vehicle that’s fuel efficient, but be sure it’s reliable and safe.
Reliability: If reliability is most important for peace of mind, a used late model or new vehicle may be necessary. Some used vehicles still have some warranty left on them, so beware of that option while looking, or ask about an extended warranty. Some of the imports are in the more reliable category, but don’t rule out domestic vehicles also. Remember to keep your vehicle reliable, you must keep up with the maintenance on it.
Other factors such as handling, performance, style, comfort and ease of maintenance need to be addressed also.
Be sure and test drive the vehicle in city driving and on the open road before you make your decision.