Purchasing a used car is not as simple as it sounds. Buyers must be wary about the true condition of any car that has been previously owned. Before handing over your credit card, make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.
Six Steps for Buying a Used Car
- Set a budget: Before you even begin shopping, it is important that you figure out your budget. It is recommended that you spend no more than 20% of your monthly income on monthly auto payments. When setting a budget, make sure you keep in mind all other expenses including rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, phone bills, loan payments, and other monthly bills.
- Narrow your search: Once you know how much money you can spend, you can begin to think about which type of car is within your price range and suits your lifestyle and needs. It is wise to consider certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles in order to alleviate concerns about the condition of a used car. Also think about what you will be using your car for and what features you will want. You may even want to select a few different specific manufacturers that you trust. For instance, if you narrow down your list to Subaru, you can save time by later visiting primarily Subaru car dealers.
- Go online: Before heading to any used car dealerships, do some research online. Check out websites that offer used car listings, but remember to get all the details from the previous owner before throwing down your credit card.
- Check out multiple used car dealerships: Never buy the first car you see. Visit at least three dealerships before making a purchase. If you are set on buying a Subaru, check out all of the used Subaru dealers in your area.
- Test drive: Always ask to test drive the car before you buy. Your experience may reveal issues with the vehicle that you wouldn?t otherwise have been able to see.
- Negotiate: Remember that you have the power to negotiate a price. The price of a used car is almost always up for debate. When you negotiate, your best tool is information. Go to the dealership prepared with all the details, including a solid idea of the car?s general value.