Tips on Buying a Used Car
If you’re researching pre-owned cars with the goal of purchasing one, you should definitely view these tips on buying a used car.
1. Determine what you need and how much you can spend.
Think about your lifestyle – work, responsibilities and recreational activities. This will help you determine the type of car you need (e.g. a hatchback, sedan, SUV or minivan). Besides the initial cost, also think about car services and maintenance costs you’ll have to cover in the future.
2. Line up a few options to avoid disappointment.
Don’t get stuck on one brand or model. It might not be available (or affordable) at the time you’re looking. Instead, create a shortlist of cars you like that would suit your lifestyle and budget.
3. Compare the benefits of buying a certified used car VS a privately sold used car.
Research the pros of buying privately (e.g. more negotiating room; can be cheaper) VS the benefits of buying a certified used car (e.g. a remaining manufacturer warranty; trade-in options; dealer does all the paperwork). Also research the cons.
4. If it’s a private owner, ask about the car’s condition and reason for selling.
Possible answers to the car’s condition question can be “fair”, “good” and “excellent”. Each answer should tell you something about the car and the current owner. The reason for selling will help you determine how to negotiate. If the owner is honest about flaws or desperate to sell, you can drive a harder bargain.
5. Always ask for a service and maintenance history and research the VIN.
The seller (private owner or dealership) should have no problem sharing this information if the car has been well cared for. With the vehicle’s identification number, you’ll be able to access its history – has it been in an accident / used for commercial purposes / undergone extensive repairs? etc.
6. Request a test drive and use a checklist to inspect the car.
Make sure you take the car you’re interested in for a test drive. This shouldn’t be a problem at a car dealership. If any seller refuses, you should walk away. Also do an inspection before the test drive as well as after. Ideally, you should ask someone to come along to makes notes while you’re driving.
7. Take the car to a third party mechanic to inspect the car.
When buying privately, it’s never a bad idea to get another opinion from an independent, objective professional.
8. Familiarise yourself with financing options.
If you’ve done all your research, covered all the other tips provided and still feel positive after the inspection, you can start looking into finance options.
9. Make sure you know how to negotiate.
Everything is negotiable so be sure to work on your negotiating skills. Show them that you know the process, but also know when to accept the best price offered.