Whether you are a teen who has just obtained a driver’s license, or an adult who is in the market for his or her first car, you’ll want to do a little preparation before shopping used cars. This will ensure you get the best deal and remain happy with your purchase for years to come.
First, take a look at your finances. Do you have any money saved toward buying a car? Is this amount enough to pay for the entire purchase, or is it just what you need for a down payment? Once you realize how much you have, you can begin searching for financing options. Finding out what you qualify for beforehand can save you a lot of time and let you know the maximum budget you have so you don’t fall in love with a car that is out of your reach.
Size and Style
Next, consider your needs to determine how big of a vehicle or what style of automobile you’re looking for. If you transport construction materials for work, for example, your best bet is to look for a truck. Perhaps you have three children and you do a lot of carpooling. In that case, a minivan would be better. A few additional things to contemplate are whether you prefer manual or automatic, gas or electric, and whether you’ll be doing a lot of commuting or just driving around town.
Condition of the Vehicle
When browsing the used cars on the lot and finding one that fits your parameters, take a quick look at the condition of the vehicle. If the inside seats are ripped and there are stains everywhere, chances are the previous owners did not take good care of it. That means it might not have received the routine maintenance it needed to really last. After you’ve examined the interior, do a quick walk around the vehicle to see if there is any damage from rust.
Take it for a Test Drive
After you locate a vehicle among the used cars that fits your price range and looks good inside and out, ask to take it for a test drive. You don’t want to start off with an automobile that has engine problems or bad breaks. These are some things you may be able to detect with a test drive.
Get an Expert’s Opinion
Just to be on the safe side, it is best to ask the dealership if you can have a mechanic look over the car before you make a final decision on whether or not to purchase it. Legitimate used car dealerships will not have a problem with this, and if the mechanic gives you the thumbs up, then you can begin the paperwork to own your very first vehicle.
If you find any defects on the car during the inspection, and you wouldn’t mind having them fixed, use that to negotiate the price down. Then, you can use the savings to have that issue taken care of right after you buy the vehicle.