Buying a used car or any car – really- shouldn’t be an impulse buy. It should be a well thought out process with set guidelines in mind. This is to help you and the dealer find the right car for your family, while making an informed decision.
Do Your Research
You should already have an idea of what kind of vehicle will be best for your needs. Write down what you want from a new vehicle. Are you looking for a 5 or 7 seater, a minivan, a third-row SUV, something bigger? What features MUST it have and what features you don’t really need?
Then do your research. Walking into the used car dealership without any foresight or just to browse can really impair your decision making. Look at classifieds, look at the dealer’s site, just browse for the vehicles that best fit your description and needs before walking into a dealer.
Set Your Budget
Setting a price range for yourself can also help you narrow your search and negotiate a price you are truly comfortable with. When you talk with the salesman, it’s okay to be firm with your budget range, but don’t share your target price until the dealer makes you an offer. Also, keep in mind that a budget for a used car should also include enough funds for an inspection and any small repairs it may need.
Ask For The Carfax Report
Carfax reports give you the history of a car, letting you know if the car has been in an accident or might have any other potentially worrisome events in its history. Some dealerships will run reports for you, but for other dealerships (or if you’re buying for a private seller) you can run a report yourself.
Test Drive The Vehicle Or Vehicles
Don’t fall into the category of “ohhh it’s just what I wanted.” You won’t be sure if you don’t test drive the vehicle, and then test drive other vehicles. During the test drive, you’ll be listening for noises, noticing if the axles are off-balance, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to walk away if you don’t find the car comfortable for you.
Finally, it’s important to ask as many questions as possible. The more informed you are the better off you will be in the end. Such questions may include:
- How many previous owners did the vehicle have?
- Why is the vehicle in your possession?
- Have there been any recalls on this vehicle?
Hopefully, now you’re ready to purchase the right vehicle for you and your family.
If I’ve missed anything, please leave me a comment below!