Tips on buying a used car from a dealer

“The cars we drive say a lot about us,” Alexandra Paul, the American actress, once said. If you are looking for a used car, what does that say about you? Likely, you are trying to save money, and you’re interested in getting a good deal at an acceptable price. You may be interested in spending your money on other investments such as a home or an education, rather than a new car.

There are many reasons people are drawn to used cars. Each year, about 40 million used vehicles change ownership from one person to another. Are you interested in exploring your options? Here are several things you should know about what to look for when buying a used car.

The Things to Look For

  • For any car you look at and seriously consider buying, you’re going to want to request a vehicle history report based on the car’s VIN number. It’s very easy for cars to have hidden damage — the dealer might not even be fully aware of its past history.
  • See if there are any recalls on the vehicle recently, as this could impact its safety or value.
  • If you’re wondering where to find the best used cars, your most dependable bet is usually a dealership. The guy on Craigslist might have a better offer, but what he sells to you won’t be backed by guarantees and regulations the way an established business will.

Questions You Should be Ready to Ask Used Car Dealers

  • “How do you finance used cars?” Many people underrate how important this is when it comes to picking out their vehicle. Although many people will decide to finance their car through the dealership, there are many options available, and you should do research on your credit history and projected earnings to see what sort of financing is right for you.
  • “Do you take trade ins?” You wouldn’t be the first to use this as an opportunity to get rid of your old vehicle. It’s a good idea, though, to first check on your old vehicle’s value through a site such as Edmunds.
  • “What are some equivalent models to this vehicle?” For every car there is a similar vehicle sold by another manufacturer. In this way, you can often get more of the features that truly matter to you, and used car dealers will be happy to help. You may find that the best car for your lifestyle isn’t what you originally imagined at all.

Quick Tips on Buying a Used Car From a Dealer

  • Don’t tell them what you’re willing to pay at any point
  • Pay attention to the monthly payment but also consider the total amount you’ll be paying
  • Understand the expected car maintenance required; if the average vehicle like yours needs $300 in repairs each year, are you factoring that into the cost?

What would you ask used car dealers? Let us know in the comments. Read more articles like this:

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