Buying a used car seems to be a good choice, yet the risks are likely to occur if you purchase the vehicle without careful consideration. Here are some steps for you to follow so that you can find the right car you want.

1. Set a Budget

Decide how much you would like to spend on your purchase. Your consideration should not be merely limited to an affordable monthly payment. You have to take a look at the whole price of the car, which includes the cost of financing the purchase and the odds that it may require expensive repairs in the future. The older a vehicle gets, the lower the price will usually be, and unluckily, the more costly repairs it will need. The solution is to strike a balance between the two. You can refer to some online resources like RepairPal or Kelly Blue Book to find the information about a vehicle’s reliability, the possible problems, and the average repair costs.

2.Find the Right Place

You can buy a used vehicle in many places. To avoid unnecessary trouble, you should try your best to learn about the person or business selling the car. You may ask the local Better Business Bureau or other consumer protection agency for help to check out the person or the company. There are some common choices for you to consider:

  • Used Car Superstores

 Used car superstores provide customers with massive inventories, refined sales process and branded add-ons like extended warranties. Although you may not get the best price in such a store, there will be a sense of security as you are dealing with a large, established enterprise.

  • Franchised New Car Dealers

Franchised new car dealers enable you to go through a more seamless buying process, including the handling of the most complicated paperwork. They can also offer access to multiple lending sources in case you do not have a pre-approved financing deal. Besides, new car dealers are the only place for you to find pre-owned factory-certified cars from the respective brands.

  • Independent Used Car Dealers

Independent used-car dealers are relatively smaller in scale. These locally owned businesses provide their inventory mainly from wholesale auto auctions, which means you can get your car at a lower price from them. Independent dealers generally have less overhead, but no service departments. Although many independent dealers have solid reputations, it is better for you to learn more about the business via local consumer advocates before you buy from them. 

3.Car Inspection

After you find the right place with a well-considered budget, it is time for you to look for a specific car. If a particular vehicle attracts your attention, don’t be in a hurry to open the car door. Ask the dealer for the vehicle history report, if possible. The report contains quite a lot of information you may need like accidents, other damage, title status and service history, thus saving you the time and trouble of test driving.

You can arrive a little bit earlier to see the car drive up. Make sure the car won’t make horrible noises or leave a plume of smoke behind. Walk around the vehicle to see if there is any possible damage, worn or non-matching tires or broken glass. Look at the paint carefully and make sure that the color and gloss match from panel to panel. Don’t forget the lights, for they can be either broken or full of water. Take a glance under the car to see if anything is hanging loose or if there exists major leaks.

4.Test Driving

Test driving is one of the most important steps in the whole buying process. First of all, get yourself comfortably seated in the car and make sure that you can reach the pedals. You have to bear it in mind that if the car fails to fit today, it probably won’t fit better after the purchase. Then, start the car and try every system, including the air conditioning, the interior lights, the power door locks as well as the emergency flashers, headlights, fog lights, and high beam. Drive the vehicle as you normally would and make sure the steering and acceleration fit your preference. Take an independent mechanical inspection after the test driving to prevent underlying mechanical issues.

5.Make the Deal

If you have made it clear that the car turns out OK, you can start to negotiate a fair price and sign the paperwork. Keep a firm, polite but unemotional attitude during the negotiation. If you are forced to make a quick decision, just leave your contact information and walk away. It turns out that walking away is the most powerful method you can use in the car buying process. If you are satisfied with the price, you can sign the paperwork. Remember to create a bill of sale that lists any special terms applied to the transaction. The specific registration paperwork can be complicated, but you should at least get the vehicle’s title from the seller and transfer it to your own name. Never sign a document with errors or blank spaces.

After you signed the paperwork and paid the purchase, you can finally put your used car to your garage. Don’t forget to maintain it regularly and properly in order to protect its value. Remember that the better you take care of the vehicle, the less depreciation it will endure and the higher its value will be.

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